Child Support Lawyer Serving Bergen County and Northern New Jersey
When the marriage has produced children, the issue of child custody may be the most important aspect of the divorce to decide. It may also be the issue with the strongest emotional attachments and potentially the most contentious. As a result, child support can be a difficult pill to swallow for the parent who does not end up with custody, particularly where the ending of the relationship was contentious or where there was no significant relationship between the parents to begin with. Parents, however, owe their children a duty to support them financially, and it is essential to obtain experienced legal help from attorneys who understand the nuances of both the legal issues and the family dynamics involved in order to properly and, as much as possible, painlessly, negotiate and set child support obligations.
Herbert & Weiss in Englewood provides thoughtful, experienced child support lawyers with the ability to effect creative, workable solutions and who vigorously fight for the parental rights of our clients regarding their children in New Jersey divorce cases.
Who Needs to Pay Child Support?
Child support is an ongoing payment made by a non-custodial parent to the custodial parent. The “custodial parent” refers to the parent with whom the child resides. Under New Jersey law, any person who has had a child but is not in a relationship with the other parent may owe child support, even if they were never an “intact family” to begin with. New Jersey policy establishes that a child is entitled to the joint incomes of both parents and should not be financially limited based on the relationship of his or her parents. Parties can, of course, voluntarily agree that one parent does not owe child support.
Child support does not cover every item and expense related to child-rearing, and knowledgeable legal help is necessary to comb through the more-than-100 pages of New Jersey guidelines that are used to establish child support payments.
Calculating New Jersey Child Support
New Jersey law incorporates the income shares model of child support, reinforcing the legal principle that both parents are financially responsible to care for their children. The income shares model recognizes that each spouse’s contribution to the combined household income equals that person’s relative share of the expenses. Once the couple has divorced, however, the custody and parenting arrangement may no longer be equal, and the relative costs of raising the children may no longer be equal as well.
Having experienced, effective legal representation in the determination of child support is essential to making sure the spouses’ incomes are properly reported and that the factors used to determine the costs of raising the children (food, clothing, healthcare, transportation, entertainment, etc.) are fairly and accurately arrived at. It is also important to know that the family law judge has the authority to deviate from the statutory guidelines and set a different amount of child support, if the judge believes deviating from the formula is in the child’s best interest.
Common Child Support Issues
Child support is most directly affected by the income of the two parents. Income disparity often exists where one party stayed at home while the other worked outside the home, or where one parent has been unemployed or underemployed voluntarily for a long period of time. If one party fails to pay child support, the other party can seek the court’s help in enforcing a child support order.
Unpaid child support can lead to consequences such as: an arrest warrant, garnishment of wages, suspension of a driver’s license, suspension of a passport, and a court order for immediate repayment of any amount owed.
Englewood Child Support Lawyer Addressing Your Unique Needs
The divorce attorneys at Herbert & Weiss are prepared to handle all the issues which may arrive in the determination of child custody and support, including shared parenting and split parenting arrangements and other special needs the family may have, from a child’s special educational needs to the expense of elder care for a parent of one of the divorcing spouses. We know that every case is unique and do not try to offer cookie-cutter solutions. We take the time to fully understand and analyze all the issues in the case in order to best represent our clients. In Bergen County and northern New Jersey, contact an Englewood child support lawyer at Herbert & Weiss to discuss the important issues in your divorce, including child custody and child support.