In addition to the emotional consequences of a divorce, there are financial ones as well, particularly when it comes to child support. When going through the divorce process, both parents must provide financially for their children. In addition to basic needs like food, clothing and shelter, there are other costs that need to be addressed in a child support case. Additional costs include health care; education expenses; activities like sports, music and dance lessons; counseling and therapy fees; transportation and entertainment. All of these costs are considered when determining the amount each parent is responsible for providing in child support.
There are three basic principles that must be followed in a New Jersey child support case.
- Both parents have a responsibility to pay child support for the duration of the time specified.
- Each child is to be financially cared for based on the income of both parents.
- The divorce should not negatively impact the children from a financial standpoint.
The court system looks at a variety of factors when calculating the financial obligations that each parent is responsible for providing. The courts generally follow a basic formula which considers both parents’ income, including investment portfolios; the earning potential of each parent; number and age of the children; ongoing medical costs; government payments; and the current child custody arrangement. A South Jersey child support lawyer can help guide you through these issues and negotiate an optimal child support agreement.
In some cases, a child support agreement must address special considerations for families with unique issues. For example, families who have children with special needs often have additional medical expenses for treatments, therapy, and medication. Additionally, some families have a child or children who is exceptionally gifted musically, athletically, and/or academically. There are additional expenses associated with encouraging and supporting these talents, including private lessons, special equipment, travel, and uniforms. These distinctive circumstances are best addressed with the help of a South Jersey divorce lawyer.
Oftentimes, the circumstances of one or both parents may change over time. For example, changes in employment status have a direct impact on a parent’s ability to pay child support. A promotion or a sizable inheritance could increase the amount of child support that the parent must pay. Conversely, a parent may be required to pay less if they lose their job or are forced to take a significant reduction in salary. Another scenario that may warrant child support modifications is when one or both parents remarry or relocate to another state. When changes like this occur, the court will often modify the amount and frequency of payments that is in line with each parent’s changing circumstances.
Another issue that a South Jersey child support lawyer can assist families with is enforcement when a parent fails to comply with court mandated child support payments. If a parent does not uphold his or her financial responsibility, the court may garnish wages, seize tax refunds, and non-renew professional licenses. In extreme cases, the parent may face prison time. An experienced South Jersey divorce lawyer can walk you through this process and help file the proper paperwork to obtain the payments due, including back payments.
Parents in New Jersey may be required by law to contribute financially to their child’s post-secondary education if specific criteria are met. Circumstances in each case are unique. To ensure a positive outcome in a college contribution case, you need a family law attorney with experience in this particular aspect of New Jersey family law. South Jersey Family Law attorneys at Martone Law Group have gained valuable knowledge and experience representing clients in high profile college contribution disputes in New Jersey.