New Jersey Child Support Facts
When a marriage ends, it is rare that equal child custody results from the divorce proceedings. This can take an emotional toll on either or both parents, as they may feel that the law is preventing them from spending enough time with their children. The situation may be even less pleasant for the non-custodial spouse, who will have to both spend less time with her or his children and provide child support payments to the children’s other parent. Because the children’s needs supersede those of the parents, it is perfectly fair that each parent contributes equitably to their care. Nevertheless, the variability of child support payments among divorcés may seem intimidating at first. The state of New Jersey has protocols in place to aid in the child support process, and our office regularly guides all divorced parents through the maze of determining how to best financially support their children. Among the most frequent questions we receive are the following, which pertain to the particulars of child support and possible problems that can arise down the line.
How Is New Jersey Child Support Calculated, and by Whom?
Different states have different rules and guidelines governing New Jersey child support. Courts implement two sets of guidelines, or “worksheets”: one is used for sole parenting, and the other for shared parenting. If one party’s gross weekly income exceeds $3,500, the guidelines may serve as a starting point, but the judge will have greater discretion to mandate additional child support on a case-by-case basis.
Is It Too Early to Think About My Child’s College Education?
If your children are very young, you might not have put much thought toward their college education before you began divorce proceedings. Your first step should be to talk about these issues with your spouse and your respective attorneys in mediation. New Jersey law requires that a child exhaust opportunities for scholarships, grants, and student loans available prior to parents being obligated to contribute toward college costs. If the court mandates a contribution, it would be calculated in proportion to the parents’ respective incomes, based on the ability to pay.
Is It Possible to Waive New Jersey Child Support?
Child support is the right of the child, not the right of the parent. In theory, for that reason, child support is not waivable. However, if you do not seek to enforce the child’s right to court-ordered support, that would have the same effect was “waiving” the support.
How Long Do New Jersey Child Support Payments Last?
Child support payments will continue until a child is legally emancipated, which usually occurs at the age of 18. In most cases, if a child is enrolled in a two- or four-year college, he or she will not be emancipated until graduation. However, the parents have significant say here; some factors could allow for emancipation while a student is still enrolled in college, and parents can even agree to allow a child five years to finish college.
What If My Ex-Spouse Stops Paying Child Support?
If your former spouse has stopped paying New Jersey child support, you can notify the family court. The judge will sign a warrant for your spouse’s arrest, and your former spouse will be jailed until he or she has paid the full balance of missed child support. The court also can seize the negligent party’s passport and suspend driver’s or other professional licenses.
Spouses and children alike are affected by divorces, though in different ways. While the parents must often contend with starting their romantic and vocational lives anew, children have to grapple with the effects of divorces on every facet of their day-to-day lives. Child support is a means of allaying some of these concerns, guaranteeing children that they should not have to worry about where they will sleep or who will make them their dinner. Because custody and support are complicated matters to resolve, though, you may find it beneficial to consult an attorney with a background in family law as you negotiate your divorce. In a way, child support is among the most effective methods of ensuring that one’s children will be influenced the least amount possible by the end of their parents’ marriage, and an attorney can tell you what to expect as you and your spouse debate how to continue raising your family.