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What is Child Support, and When Does it Occur in New Jersey?

In New Jersey, divorced or separated parents are mandated to provide for their children through child support. They are responsible for feeding, clothing, shelter, and other types of support to help the children maintain a comfortable life. When these parents separate legally, usually in a divorce, issues like child custody and support become concerns that the courts address before granting the divorce order. While one parent gets custody of the child, the other has to support the other financially to ensure that the child continues to get the necessary support. Therefore, child support is a payment that parents (usually the non-custodial parent) pay periodically to maintain a child’s well being and cover every living expense. While the New Jersey State Courts determine who gets custody and who pays the child support, the New Jersey Child Support Agency Services (CSA), a division of the state’s human services department, addresses child support cases and enforces child support payment in the state. The state child support guidelines are in New Jersey Civil Practice Rules, Appendix IX, and Title 2A, Chapter 34–23 of the New Jersey Statutes.

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What is New Jersey Child Support?

Child support usually refers to all the emotional, medical and financial assistance given to a child following the end of a marriage or union. Regardless of a couple’s living situation or relationship, they are required by law to continue to provide support to children in their custody until the age of 19. Child support in New Jersey is predominantly financial, and it is paid by one parent to another in a bid to provide the child’s basic needs. In the event of a divorce or dissolution of marriage, the court calculates the child’s cost of living and divides it between the parents. Sometimes, the parents may have private agreements that only require approval from the court. According to state Child support guidelines, child support ensures that children do not become economic victims of a divorce or separation.

What Does Child Support Cover in New Jersey?

Child support payments in New Jersey generally cover a child’s living expenses. Such expenses generally include:

  • Shelter related costs
  • Food
  • Clothing and personal care
  • Education
  • Child care expenses
  • Health insurance and other medical expenses
  • Costs for special needs if applicable
  • Visitation transportation expenses
  • Other Expenses approved by the court

What is the Average Child Support Payment in New Jersey?

Typically, child support payments are determined according to the parents’ combined net income. Hence, average child support payments are determined according to the state’s child support guidelines. They allow some flexibility because every family in New Jersey is different. The guidelines worksheets provide the state courts with enough information about the parents’ economic situation to create a fair and adequate child support plan.

The necessary calculations are done based on the guidelines threshold of net (after-tax) income of $187,200. With this information, the court first determines the family’s gross income and then deducts taxes and necessary costs. The income considered include salaries, bonuses, income from assets, bank interest dividends, worker’s benefits, gambling winnings, etc. The results are combined to deduce a basic child support award. The court then divides the basic child support award and splits it according to the parents’ incomes. Also, according to the guidelines, the court will make deductions based on parenting time. Hence, if a non-custodial parent has more parenting time than most child support cases, the court may award special deductions from their child support payments.

If the couple’s income surpasses the guideline threshold, the law requires that child support be calculated according to the abundant resources available in the family. After calculating the average payment using the guideline formula, the resulting amount is then supplemented by additions based on the children’s needs, extracurricular expenses, and the families’ remaining income.

How do I apply for Child Support in New Jersey?

Any individual who requires assistance to establish or collect child support can apply for child support in New Jersey. Interested individuals can apply for child support at the county’s family Court, Board of Social Services, or county welfare agency, or online through the New Jersey Child Support Agency Services website. After obtaining the form from any of the above, the individual may download, print, complete, and sign the Child Support Application form. With this form, individuals can request partial child support services such as medical support, monitoring, paternity establishment, etc. A non-refundable fee of $6 fee applies for full child support services.

How Do I Get Out of Paying Child Support in New Jersey?

Typically, a parent who pays child support payment can legally get out of it when the children are deemed emancipated by the Court of law or the parents’ marital settlement agreement. Typically, emancipation occurs when the child graduates from college or when the child is 19 in New Jersey. If both parents cannot agree on emancipation, the payor can file an application with the court to modify the order. Additionally, when the court updates a child support payment order, the opposing party to the order may file a motion with the court to adjust the child support amount.

Petitioners have to file the application and a copy of the court order they want to modify. Other case information statements, supporting affidavits, and enough financial documentation must be included to help the court understand the situation. The court may grant the modification if the circumstances change. For example, cases of a decrease in the payor’s income, increased cost of living, loss of property, unemployment, etc.

What is Back Child Support in New Jersey?

Back child support or arrearages are the overdue payments that accumulate when a parent falls behind on child support payments. New Jersey courts are particularly strict about enforcing child support and arrearages payment. The state sanctions persons in arrears of their child support payments by creating penalties such as jail time, seizing bank accounts, suspending professional licenses and passports, driver’s license revocation, etc.

How Do I Get Back Child Support Paid in New Jersey?

When a parent fails to pay child support, the custodial parent or the individual to which the payment is owed may file an enforcement application in an attempt to get the courts to require the owing parent to pay. They can file this application with an attorney’s help or through the probation officer at the local probation department responsible for collecting child support payments. This application will contain a statement of facts and details regarding the non-payment.

In response, the court may use drastic methods and penalties to enforce payment. In extreme cases, the court may issue a bench warrant for the arrest of the defaulting party and incarcerate the individual in a local jail. The individual has to pay a purge amount of the child support arrears or propose a reasonable payment plan to be released.

Is there a New Jersey Statutes of Limitation on Child Support?

When a parent does not pay child support in New Jersey, the individual is subject to enforcement measures per the state child support law. The statute of limitations period on child support payment is the time legally acceptable for a party to file an application of enforcement against a parent who has not paid child support. In this case, the statute of limitation is 5 years after the child is legally emancipated from the parents. This implies that after the fifth year, legal action cannot be taken to enforce payment of child support arrearages.

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