Frequently Asked Questions About Child Support in New Jersey
Parents frequently disagree about child support issues, and whether you’re in the process of setting an initial rate, seeking a modification due to a change in circumstances or enforcing an order against a nonpaying co-parent, you should have a strong attorney by your side. Katherine K. Wagner, Attorney at Law in Somerville has more than 25 years of family law experience and can represent you effectively while answering questions such as:
- How much child support should I expect to be ordered in my case?
- If I lose my job, will the court terminate my child support obligation?
- How can I enforce the terms of my child support order?
- What types of factors will compel a court to modify existing child support terms?
- When does the obligation to pay child support end in New Jersey?
Many factors can go into a child support determination, but your divorce attorney can provide a reasonable estimate of what the rate might be in your case by looking at each party’s income and a few other pieces of information. Child support is usually paid by the parent who does not have physical custody. Another factor is how much time a son or daughter spends in each parent’s home. Health insurance premiums and child-care costs might also be taken into account when calculating a final rate.
Each parent has a legal and moral obligation to meet their child’s financial needs. If you lose your job, you should take immediate steps to reduce the amount you owe in child support, but your obligation likely will not be terminated. Wages are not the only type of income considered during a child support calculation. Unemployment and disability benefits are included as well. Also, remember that no matter how compelling your reason might be, you cannot adjust your child support rate on your own. You must wait for the court to modify the order.
You should not wait to take action if your ex is violating the terms of your child support order. Consulting with an experienced family lawyer can help you understand what legal means are available to compel compliance. Nonpayers can have their wages garnished or risk losing their driver’s or professional licenses.
Numerous types of changes can occur that affect the fairness of an existing child support order. A shift in either parent’s income caused by a job loss or a major promotion might lead a court to rebalance the child support obligation. A medical problem, an expensive extracurricular activity or a change in the number of nights a son or daughter spends in each parent’s home might also justify a modification.
Child support typically ends in New Jersey when a son or daughter turns 19 years old, gets married or begins military service. Of course, many young people, particularly college students, continue to rely on their parents into their early 20s. You and your co-parent can negotiate a child support order that covers these years and makes specific provisions for the funding of higher education or vocational training. If your order does not cover this period but you believe you are entitled to financial assistance, you can file a Request for Continuation of Support.