Monmouth County Child Support Lawyers
When parents go through a divorce, they are obligated to ensure that their children are financially supported during the process and after the divorce has been finalized. For most divorcing couples who have children, child support and custody-related decisions are among the most important issues that need to be resolved during the process.
In New Jersey, there are child support guidelines in place that protect the children and help reduce tensions that can arise between parents when negotiating a child support order. While these guidelines are in place to help all couples, every custody case is unique, and your case will be handled differently based on the judge who is responsible for overseeing your case.
How Is Child Support Determined?
Child support payments are meant to protect the financial needs of the children. According to the New Jersey child support guidelines, child support payments should cover basic necessities, like food, clothing and housing, health insurance, education costs, medical expenses, child care expenses, visitation expenses, and other costs.
Child support obligations are calculated based on a range of factors, including the income of each parent, medical insurance expenses, the children’s living arrangements, day care expenses, Social Security benefits, and other factors that may impact the children’s financial well-being.
In most cases, child support payments continue until the child turns 19 years old or graduates from high school. However, there are circumstances where support payments will continue beyond the age of 19. For example, the termination date may be extended to the age of 23 if the child is attending college or vocational school. In addition, if the child has physical, psychological, emotional, or other special needs, the court may order that the payments be extended.
Requesting Child Support in New Jersey
You can apply for child support as part of a divorce action or by filing a non-dissolution action, which is a non-divorce filing. If you are in the process of getting a divorce and you need child support as soon as possible, you can file a motion for pendente lite support, which may allow you to receive support payments while the divorce is pending.
What Is Involved in Modifying an Existing Child Support Order?
Whether you are the paying parent or the custodial parent who receives child support payments, you may request a modification of child support if circumstances warrant it. You will need to include a copy of the court order that you want to modify, copies of prior and current case information statements, supporting affidavits, and briefs.
In order to seek modification, the parent who wishes to modify the child support order must prove to a judge that their change in circumstances are permanent, substantial, and unanticipated. If the parent seeking a modification cannot prove the change in circumstances to the judge’s satisfaction, the request will likely be denied. However, if the judge finds that the parent seeking modification has demonstrated a change in circumstances, that parent will have to provide the court with a case information statement, which should include copies of current financial records.
The judge will review the statement and other relevant facts and determine whether to issue a modification. The judge will consider the following factors before making a decision:
- The needs of the child.
- Each parent’s standard of living.
- Both parents’ sources of income.
- The age and health of the children and parents.
- Earning capacity of each parent.
- The child’s income, assets, and earning ability.
- Debts and liabilities of each parent.
- Other factors that the court considers relevant.
How Are Child Support Payments Enforced?
If you have primary custody of your children and your former spouse is refusing to make payments, there are steps you can take to ensure that the court-ordered child support payments are enforced. You can request a hearing in family court to enforce child support obligations. You and your former spouse will be notified about when to appear in court. If your ex fails to appear, a warrant may be issued for their arrest. The court may also order immediate payment of all overdue support or create a payment schedule to pay past due payments. There are a number of ways that support payments are collected, including:
- Garnishing wages, unemployment payments, and/or Workers’ Compensation benefits.
- Seizing assets, tax refunds, or lottery winnings.
- Placing a lien on a property, which will prevent it from being sold until the child support debts are paid.
What Is the Role of a Child Support Lawyer?
While you may be tempted to punish your ex for not paying the required child support obligations, do not withhold visitation. Child support and custody are considered separate issues by the court, and you do not want to break one legally-binding arrangement to punish your ex. You could both face legal consequences.
Rather than taking matters into your own hands, discuss your issues with a skilled Monmouth County child support lawyer who can review your case, discuss your issues, and recommend the best legal course of action. Depending on the nature of your case, you may be able to resolve your issues through mediation or another alternative dispute resolution option. If this is not possible, your attorney may litigate the case in court and negotiate the child support order that is in the best interest of your children.
Monmouth County Child Support Lawyers at Lyons & Associates, P.C. Assist Clients With Child Support Issues
If you have questions or concerns about child support, do not hesitate to contact our Monmouth County child support lawyers at Lyons & Associates, P.C. We can guide you through the divorce process, ensure that your legal rights are protected, and negotiate the child support order that meets your children’s financial needs. To schedule a free consultation, call us at 908-575-9777 or contact us online. Located in Somerville, Morristown, and Freehold, New Jersey, we serve clients in Somerset, Woodbridge, Morristown, Parsippany, Rockaway, Short Hills, Chatham, Randolph, Madison, Morris Plains, and Monmouth County.