In any divorce that involves children that are still minors or unemancipated, child support will be a key issue requiring resolution in that proceeding. Throughout Shane and White, LLC’s 40 years of practicing family law, we have learned the ins and outs of child support. If you have decided that it is time for your marriage to come to an end but you have children and are not sure how child support will help you, reach out to us to talk about your options. We hope that the below summary helps give you some peace of mind about how it all works.
Child Support in New Jersey
Most states have their own laws and guidelines on how to determine child support payments. In New Jersey, child support is almost always determined according to a series of child support guidelines, although the court may depart from those guidelines in certain circumstances such as high-income-earning families. The guidelines apply when support is established or modified. They take into account factors such as the income of both parents, the amount of overnights that a child spends with each parent, and any regular or recurring obligations parents may have, like union dues or mandatory retirement contributions. Recurring costs of caring for the children, such as medical and dental insurance expenses or work-related childcare, may also be included in the guidelines and provide a credit for the parent paying the expense.
Calculating Child SupportChild support payments come down to each parent’s income and the time dedicated to the child by each parent. That is the starting point to determining the child support costs, along with the healthcare insurance and work-related childcare. The judge presiding over the divorce proceedings has the ability to deviate from the guidelines, but the guidelines usually control.
Increasing or Decreasing Child Support
Child Support can fluctuate as time goes on and life events arise. Parents can increase or decrease the amount they are paid for child support or are paid child support based on those changing conditions. For example, child support may be modified when:
- One parent’s income dramatically changes, positively or negatively;
- The needs of the child changes, for example, work-related child care was factored into the guidelines but the child began kindergarten;
- One parent has a child born after the guidelines were run and is married to another person; or
- One child graduates high school and will attend college, while one child is still enrolled in primary school.
What is important to know, is that child support is not stagnant. It may be modified based on future changes in circumstance. As life happens, make sure to revisit the conversation of child support when things like income changes, medical emergencies happen, or family situations change.
What to do if Child Support is Not Payed
Child support payments usually will start when the divorce is finalized. If payments are not made, you should contact an experienced attorney like our professionals here at Shane and White, LLC. When payments are not made, the parent can be sued for contempt of court and have wages garnished to ensure payments are made.
Contact Shane and White, LLC for Help!
Child Support is an incredibly delicate situation, and it is one that can have an impact on the rest of your children’s life. Make sure you have the right lawyer in your corner from start to finish!