Somerville Child Support Lawyer
Child support is an extremely important aspect of any divorce action involving children. New Jersey follows a set of codified Child Support Guidelines in determining the amount of child support to award. The Guidelines are generally based on the incomes of the parties. The Guidelines, however, have many exceptions.
With more than 25 years of experience representing families handling child support matters, Somerville child support lawyer Katherine K. Wagner is well-versed in the Guidelines and the exceptions, as well as the strongest arguments to make and evidence to present in a dispute over child support. At the law office of Katherine K. Wagner, we are focused on ensuring that your children are financially secure and that your child support award is appropriate, adequate, and fair in accordance with your circumstances and your rights as a parent.
What is Child Support?
Child support is the means by which children are able to live at a standard of living comparable to that at which their parents are living and, therefore, it is generally based upon the incomes of the parties. In addition to the income of the parties, child support should reflect factors including the amount of time the children spend with the parents and the ages of the children.
The parent with primary physical custody of the children will generally be the recipient of support. Ideally, the payor will agree to pay voluntarily on a weekly or monthly basis. If they refuse to pay, a New Jersey court can order payments via wage garnishment enforced by the state. A dedicated New Jersey child support lawyer can help you establish an appropriate child support arrangement and, where necessary, enforce a child support order against a reluctant co-parent.
What is Not Included in Child Support?
There are certain common expenses parents face that may not be reflected in a child support order. The parents will likely instead need to share these costs outside of child support in accordance with whatever agreement they can reach. For young children attending work-related daycare or pre-school, the cost of such care will generally be shared by the parties in proportion to their incomes. It can be paid along with the appropriate amount of child support or be paid directly by the parties to the childcare provider.
Additionally, although the Child Support Guidelines include certain activities, clothing, and equipment, many activities in which older children participate are not included in the Guidelines, and an appropriate sharing of those costs by the parties would have to be determined. Experienced child support lawyer Katherine K. Wagner will help you create a child support plan that incorporates your necessary expenses and account for any expenses that are not included. A
child support arrangement should never leave you facing undue hardship, whether because you are overpaying or receiving too little. Katherine K. Wagner, Attorney at Law, will fight to ensure your child support is fair, appropriate, and takes care of the needs of your children.
Modifying Child Support
The parties and the court set child support obligations in line with the financial circumstances of the parties at the time of divorce and in anticipation of expected events in the near future. The circumstances of each parent and the children may change as time passes. If circumstances change that make the current child support order inappropriate or otherwise create hardship for one of the parties involved, either party may seek a modification of child support in a post-judgment motion. Child support lawyer Katherine K. Wagner has experience seeking modification of child support for reasons including:
- Remarriage by either spouse
- A significant change in income by either spouse
- Unexpected medical problems suffered by the parents or the child
- Changed circumstances for the child including attending college or emancipation
What if My Ex Won’t Pay Child Support
If your former spouse or other co-parent has been ordered to pay child support according to the terms of a final divorce settlement or order, then they are obligated to satisfy their obligation absent a court order to reduce or terminate payments. Your New Jersey child support lawyer can help you file a motion for enforcement of the child support obligation, and if they still refuse to pay, a motion for contempt of court. Your ex may be subject to penalties, including attorneys’ fees, and if they are held in contempt of court, even jail time if they have no valid excuse for their failure to pay.
Child Support Arrears
Absent a court order to modify child support, the current amount of support will continue and be calculated as arrears which will have to be repaid. For example, if a child support order of $100 per week is not paid for a full year, the arrears would be $5,200. Child support arrears are an automatic judgment in New Jersey and become a lien on any real property owned in the state by the defaulting spouse. Child support arrears can also be satisfied by a tax intercept on any Federal and State tax refunds owed to the defaulting spouse. If a defaulting spouse receives lawsuit proceeds, receives an inheritance or wins the lottery, any overdue child support arrears must be paid before the remaining proceeds are released.
Help with a New Jersey Child Support Matter
If you have issues regarding child support in the counties of Somerset, Middlesex and Hunterdon, or the surrounding areas, contact Katherine K. Wagner, Attorney at Law, today for a consultation. Ms. Wagner will fight for your children, for your family, and for your rights.