Child Support Answers
If you are in the process of a divorce or recently divorced, you may have questions regarding the court’s order regarding child support payments by one spouse to the other. Courts always want to ensure the child’s best interest and likely awarded child support payments as a way of spreading the financial responsibility of raising a child evenly between both parents. If you are affected by a child support order, the following are some answers to frequent concerns and questions regarding this legally binding order of the court.
Child Support is Mandatory
The requirement to pay child support according to the guidelines established by the court in your divorce is not optional. These payments are mandatory, and not dischargeable even in bankruptcy following a divorce. If one parent fails to make child support payments, the penalties can be severe. In fact, a parent may have their wages garnished (taken) by the state through a mandatory requirement imposed on the parent’s employer.
Modification of Child Support Orders
Child support orders are typically not modified immediately following a divorce. However, these orders of the court are allowed to be modified under New Jersey’s law regarding “changed circumstance.” Under NJSA 2A:34-23, the court can determine that the circumstances between parents have changed substantially enough that a modification to the child support order is warranted. Certain conditions such as job loss, gaining a higher paying job, changes in parenting time, permanent disability, major health issues of the child, change in expenses necessary to raise a child, or additional children the parent needs to support are some of the reasons a modification of a child support order could occur.
Child Support is Only for the Child
While many parents feel that child support is simply a payment to their former ex-spouse, the truth is that child support is always intended to be used for the child. Both parents have a responsibility to pay for their child’s expenses, and when one parent has more custody of the child their financial expenses regarding a child are typically more. The money from child support should only ever be used to support the child. While one parent can never actually “prove” that the other parent is using child support for other reasons, the calculations regarding child support established by the courts have attempted to determine the costs of raising a child, and attempt to ensure that both parents have a fair and equitable division of these financial costs.
Contact an Experienced Family Law Attorney
Child support orders typically last until a child reaches the age of 18, unless there are some extenuating circumstances such as a child with special needs. The determination of the child support amount can have a great impact on your financial health, whether you are the parent receiving child support or paying child support. If you are in the process of a divorce, you should ensure that your rights are protected regarding child custody and visitation. Contact an experienced family law and divorce attorney at the law firm of Giro Law at 201-690-1642 to help you understand your legal rights today.