Child support is a parental obligation owed to a child. As such, it is not a punitive measure or intended as a “reward” for a custodial parent. Consequently, a non-custodial parent is expected to pay child support according to a formula determined by the State Legislature known as the New Jersey Child Support Guidelines. In general, child support is a function of the combined net income (where this refers to gross income minus certain allowable deductions) of both parents. Gross income can include things like job income, workers’ compensation, interest or dividends on investments, and pension and unemployment benefits.
The Child Support Guidelines also take into account certain deductions to income, including income taxes, mandatory pension contributions and union dues. The Guidelines consider that there are expenses incurred in caring for a child which may be paid by either parent, such as health insurance and daycare expenses. These expense can be substantial and can significantly affect the final child support amount.
In this way, regardless of whether a parent is working or unemployed, if he or she has been ordered to pay child support that obligation does not cease just because of job loss or hardship. The court, however, can modify child support payments in the event a parent files for a child support modification; even so, proper legal documents must be filed with the court before child support payments can be reduced or halted temporarily.
Regardless of whether you are interested in modifying child support payments or interested in obtaining a child support judgment against your child’s mother or father, contact our office today at CraigAnninBaxter Law. We can evaluate your case and discuss the best legal options available to you. You can also call our office at 856-795-2220.
Parenting Worksheets: Sole Parenting and Shared Parenting
When determining child support, you will need to fill out either the sole parenting worksheet or the shared parenting worksheet. The former applies to a parent who has physical custody of a child most or all of the time. While each situation is different, the sole parenting worksheet should be used in cases where one parent has physical custody and the other parent is limited to less than two regular overnight visitation sessions. The sole parenting worksheet allows the parent with whom a child resides to claim a higher percentage of the total income claimed applicable to child support.
In cases where a child spends more than two overnight sessions with each parent a week, the shared parenting worksheet should be used. The court will designate one parent as the “parent of primary residence” (PPR) and the other as “parent of alternate residence” (PAR). Typically, the PPR parent is the parent with whom a child spends the majority of overnight time or the parent with whom a child lives during school. In both cases, the sole parenting and shared parenting worksheets allow parents to claim regular recurring expenses and apply them to their child support obligation.
Challenges with Emancipated Minors
In New Jersey, the emancipation of a child involves his or her release from the financial support of a parent, as well as any legal control by that parent. Emancipation, however, can be complicated by various factors since a child is not automatically emancipated once he or she reaches eighteen years of age. In fact, in New Jersey, there is no predetermined or set age that determines emancipation. In determining emancipation, the court will evaluate a child’s needs, a child’s resources, the financial situation of those involved, and any other relevant factors the court thinks are applicable to the situation.
As such, child support obligations do not automatically end when a child reaches the age of eighteen.The support claim belongs to the child and cannot be released by either parent without court approval. If the parents reduce or eliminate the amount of child support the child may make their own application for support, as when a child attends college and seeks assistance with tuition assistance or other support.
If you are getting a divorce, it is best to include a provision that defines emancipation or stipulates under what conditions your child support obligation will be amended by the Court