Child support is among the most hotly-contested divorce-related issues, and understandably so. Fortunately, The Law Offices of George J. Mardinly is here to tell you that you do not have to fight the uphill battle alone. Because the divorce process is often overwhelming, we have compiled this guide to child support in the state of New Jersey for you, the client. Please read on and reach out to our experienced New Jersey family law attorney to learn more about child support and how our firm can help you through every step of the legal process going forward. Here are some of the questions you may have:
How do New Jersey courts determine child support?
New Jersey has child support guidelines in place to govern how courts will decide on your child support terms. Though courts will consider various aspects of you and your former spouse’s lives and financial circumstances, your child’s well-being is their utmost concern. Therefore, when determining child support, they will examine the following factors:
- Your child’s needs
- You and your spouse’s age and health
- The number of children living in your household
- You and your spouse’s earning capacity
- Whether your child works/has a steady income or assets
- Your family’s standard of living
- Both you and your spouse’s economic circumstances
- Any other factor the court deems relevant
How do New Jersey courts determine child support for higher-income families?
If you and your spouse have a combined net income that surpasses $187,200, New Jersey courts will calculate your child support differently. In this case, their calculation will better reflect your family’s financial means, as well as a higher level of spending that is generally associated with high-income families. In this scenario, New Jersey courts will calculate your support in accordance with the Guidelines, and from there, they will add any additional support based on the remaining family income, as well as other factors, such as your child’s individual needs.
What expenses does child support cover?
When the courts determine that you, in fact, require child support to uphold your child’s standard of living, they will demand your former spouse make scheduled payments that cover various aspects of your child’s life. For example, child support payments will cover food and clothing. That being said, these payments do not cover all clothes, and they may exclude clothing the court does not deem necessary, such as specialized footwear for sports.
Child support will also cover the cost of various recreational events or hobbies that your child needs to live a fulfilling life. Additionally, transportation costs, such as lease payments, car payments and maintenance, public transportation and more are covered. Finally, housing and healthcare are also eligible for child support payments. This means that home insurance, property taxes, and mortgage payments should be covered, as well as unreimbursed healthcare up to $250.
What happens if my former spouse is not paying child support?
There are few things more frustrating than having a former spouse refuse to uphold his or her end of the deal–after all, they’re hurting your child far more than they’re hurting you. Fortunately, you do have options. First, you can contact the Office of Child Support Services. In many cases, your child support agreement will be established through this office. If your child support payments are more than two weeks overdue, the OCSS will work to ensure your agreement is enforced. In fact, even if your support is not received through OCSS, you can still contact OCSS if your spouse is holding out on child support payments.
That being said, many parents find that OCSS does not always respond to these issues as promptly as possible. If you find yourself in this situation, you should reach out to an experienced Monmouth County child support attorney as soon as you possibly can. Our firm can file a motion with the court on your behalf to solicit their involvement to hopefully streamline the process so you can swiftly receive the support payments you and your child need.
Can I modify child support?
Rather obviously, as time goes by, our lives change. Whether it’s been months, or years, since your divorce, you are most likely in a different situation now, financially and otherwise, than you were at the time of your divorce. That is why in New Jersey, spouses can request modifications to the terms initially negotiated in their divorce. However, for New Jersey courts to grant a child support modification, you will have to prove that your circumstances have changed both significantly and permanently–or at least for the foreseeable future. Some situations that may warrant a financially dependent parent a child support modification can include the following:
- He/she has lost their home
- Their child is suffering from a serious injury or medical condition
- They recently took a pay cut/lost their job
- There has been a change in federal income tax laws
That being said, there are also circumstances in which the supporting parent may request a modification as well. For example, if the dependent parent recently received a raise, came into a large sum of money, or remarried, the supporting parent may argue that his/her former spouse no longer requires child support payments.
No matter your circumstances, if you are requesting a child support modification, you will most likely have to file a motion with New Jersey courts, wherein you will request said modification. It is worth noting, however, that the courts do not simply hand out modifications, which is why it is always best to retain the services of an experienced New Jersey child support attorney who can help you prove your case.
When does child support end?
This is among the most frequently asked questions when it comes to child support. Child support termination is an extremely complex, multi-faceted issue. To start, we should say that in most cases, children are emancipated from child support payments once they turn 19 years old. However, that being said, there are certain instances where you may request an extension of your child support payments even after your child reaches 19 years of age. For example, if your child wishes to attend college or pursue higher education, in many cases, you and your attorney can persuade New Jersey courts to extend your child support term until the age of 23. In other cases, you may request an extension on child support if your child has a disability that requires additional and continuous financial assistance.
On the flip side, however, under certain circumstances, your child can actually emancipate him/herself from child support before he or she reaches the age of 19. A child may be emancipated from child support in the following scenarios:
- He/she is no longer living with his/her parents
- He/she enlists in the military
- He/she is financially independent and has a full-time job
- He/she gets married
- He/she is pregnant or has children
Child support is among the most complex divorce-related issues, which is why if you need legal assistance, you need an attorney you can trust. Fortunately, Attorney Mardinly is here to help. No matter your circumstances, if you have any questions or concerns about child support in New Jersey, all you have to do is reach out to us. From the moment you sit down with our firm, you will feel peace of mind and know that you are in good hands. Our firm is also adept at family law matters relating to alimony, child custody, property distribution, and more.
Contact our experienced Monmouth County, New Jersey firm
Here at The Law Offices of George J. Mardinly, we understand the importance of receiving the child support payments you need. That is why if you are getting a divorce, or simply wish to update your child support terms after a divorce, you know where to turn for the experienced, compassionate, and aggressive legal representation you deserve. Contact The Law Offices of George J. Mardinly today to schedule a consultation.