Unmarried, divorce and divorcing parents must come to some agreement on child custody. Child custody is the legal right given parents to raise and live with their child. The New Jersey family court expects parents to work together to find the best child custody arrangements. That’s why it is often helpful to have a family law attorney millburn nj to assist in negotiating child custody agreements.
It is also helpful to have legal representation when child support matters are involved. New Jersey court doesn’t allow parents to determine what they will pay or what they are willing to accept in child support payments. Instead, the family court decides child support based on state guidelines.
What is New Jersey Child Support?
Child support refers to court-ordered payments made from one parent to the other parent to financially support their child. The payment is made by the non-custodial parent, also called the obligor. This is the parent who doesn’t have custody of their child.
Paternity Must be Established before Child Support is Ordered
In some cases a parent may not be sure they are the biological parent of a child. In this situation, a parent may want to file a petition to establish paternity before proceeding with child support negotiations. A family law lawyer will help an individual file to establish paternity petition.
Determining Child Support in New Jersey
In New Jersey, a family court judge calculates child support based on a specific, complex formula. The formula includes various factors such as:
1. Daycare expenses
2. Income for each parent
3. Medical insurance costs
4. Child’s living arrangements
5. Any social security benefits
6. Other relevant factors deemed important by a judge
This means that a parent is paying for the above things when they pay child support each month.
Child Support Orders Includes the Following
The child support payments are supposed to cover specific things a child needs. For example, each child support payment covers the cost of:
1. Basic child support expenses
2. Health insurance
3. Basic education expenses
4. Extraordinary medical expenses
5. Travel expenses for the child or children to travel to see the non-custodial parent
6. Necessities such as shelter, food and clothing
Additional Child Support Payment Information
A parent must pay child support in New Jersey until the child turns 17 years old or graduates from high school. However, child support payments may continue beyond that time if the child has emotional and/or physical challenges. At any time the child support order can be increased or reduced. This is called a modification when one parent files a motion to reduce or increase child support.
Either party can modify child support if their financial circumstances change. These changed circumstances refers to at least one substantial, permanent and unanticipated life change. The term “substantial” means there is a major change in circumstances such as a job loss. If there are no substantial changes, then a judge typically reviews child support orders every three years.