Child support is meant as a benefit to children to maintain their standard of living, or one comparable, after divorce or separation.
Child support is usually paid to the parent with the majority of parenting time, or the parent of primary residence for child support guidelines purposes, which will be discussed in more detail below.
Child support is paid until a child is deemed emancipated, unless otherwise agreed or ordered by a Court. A child is presumed emancipated upon turning the age of 19, with exceptions for situations such as attending college, then child support can be extended up to the age of 23. After the age of 23, child support becomes maintenance, usually reserved for adult incapacitated individuals.
New Jersey Child Support Guidelines
Child support in New Jersey is calculated using a mathematical formula, taking into account the parties’ income, parenting time, and variety of other considerations. Once the numbers entered into the guidelines are determined, the child support guidelines produce where child support should be, based on the inputs. Once this number is set, it is usually the right amount of child support. A Judge can deviate from the guidelines, but he or she needs good cause to do so.
Child support guidelines can be complicated for the average person, and there are programs attorneys have that can run child support guidelines to give yourself an idea as to the appropriate amount of child support for your situation.
What are child support payments used for?
A common misconception is that child support is meant as direct payments to the child or things for the child like food and clothing. While this is partly true, child support is also used for rent, housing, health insurance, medical expenses, transportation and other expenses meant for the care and living standards for the child. Child support does not cover extracurricular activities, however.
Modifying Child Support
In order to modify an agreement or court order of child support, the individual seeking the modification must show significant non-temporary change of circumstances, pursuant to Lepis v. Lepis and its progeny. This is no easy task, and while a reduction in income may be grounds for such a motion, the reduction must be significant and permanent. On the converse, a motion can be made to increase child support if the other party has an increase in income with the same circumstances. Job loss, relocation, retirement, additional children, and emancipation can all be grounds to seek modification.
If you have any questions about child support you should reach out to experienced family attorneys at Hark & Hark. At Hark & Hark we are reducing fees and offering manageable payment plans. We represent clients for any case in any county in New Jersey including Atlantic, Burlington, Camden, Cape May, Cumberland, Essex, Gloucester, Mercer, Ocean, and Salem counties. We represent clients in all towns in New Jersey, including Newark, Jersey City, Paterson, Elizabeth, Edison, Woodbridge, Lakewood, Toms River, Hamilton, Trenton, Clifton, Camden, Brick, Cherry Hill, Passaic, Middletown, Union City, Old Bridge, Gloucester Township, East Orange, Bayonne, Franklin Township, North Bergen, Vineland, and Union.