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New Jersey Child Support Lawyer

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Child support is often one of the most contentious and emotional issues between parents, even after custody agreements have been made. Determining who will pay to ensure the child’s needs are met, the payment schedule, and how much it will cost can lead to bitter arguments and further strain on all parties involved.

Call 856-499-4351 (toll-free 877-788-1293) for an initial consultation with one of our New Jersey child support lawyers today.

Hire a NJ Child Support Law Firm To Resolve Child Support Matters

Because your child’s needs evolve and your financial circumstances change over time, child support may need to be renegotiated again and again. Having a New Jersey law firm specializing in child support at your back will help you protect your interests and get what you’re owed, whether you’re the custodial or noncustodial parent.

Learn How Graziano & Flynn Can Help with Child Support

At Graziano & Flynn, P.C., you’ll have access to family lawyers who will advocate for you and help you arrive at a child support agreement that benefits you and your child. If you’re seeking support from an ex or currently going through a divorce, our experienced attorneys will fight to ensure child support guidelines are applied fairly and reflect your child’s needs.

How Do New Jersey Courts Enforce Child Support?

New Jersey courts can enforce child support orders in several ways at the state and federal levels. Not paying child support can result in serious consequences and even jeopardize your parental rights. 

Child Support Enforcement

New Jersey courts may garnish wages to enforce the child support order if a parent refuses to pay child support or is late on payments. That means they’ll withhold income from the parent who owes money until sufficient child support payments are made.

If child support continues to go unpaid, courts may seize property like vehicles, houses, or other assets and even sentence the parent to jail. Any outstanding child support will also be reported to credit agencies, which can negatively impact the parent’s credit scores and future financial freedom.

Child Support Recovery

There are several ways to penalize the payor if they refuse to pay or are continually late on child support payments. New Jersey courts can:

  • Withhold wages
  • Seize assets
  • Offset tax refunds
  • Intercept lottery prizes
  • Suspend driver’s licenses
  • Deny passport applications
  • Issue warrants
  • Issue judgments to prevent sale or transfer of property

There can also be a hearing in New Jersey Family Court where both parents will be required to appear, and a judge will hear the case and determine appropriate consequences.

Can Child Support Orders Be Modified in New Jersey?

New Jersey courts are not quick to modify child support orders, which is why working with a firm with experienced child support attorneys is so important. That said, you do have options to decrease or increase the amount of child support through a few methods. 

Child Support Modification Process

To modify a child support order, you’ll need to file a motion asking the court to grant your request. A judge will evaluate the original order, consider any changes in circumstances, and determine whether a modification is justified. 

If there has been a substantial shift in circumstances or if the child’s needs have changed, you may be able to have the order modified. Payments can be negotiated if there are changes in:

  • Parental income 
  • Expenses 
  • Child’s education
  • Health

Additionally, child support orders can be changed if the parent paying child support did not make previous payments or violated the original agreement. 

Increase in Child Support

To account for changes in the cost of living, New Jersey automatically raises the cost of child support every two years to keep up with the rate of inflation. This increase is also referred to as a cost of living adjustment (COLA), and the payor can contest that increase if their income doesn’t change to meet inflation.

Decrease in Child Support

To decrease the amount of a child support order, you must file a motion with the family court to request a reduction or modification. The court will evaluate the change, determine if it’s temporary or permanent, and decide if modification is necessary. If the payor retires, for example, or there’s a significant change in income or health, the court could modify the order. 

How is Child Support Calculated in New Jersey?

Child support is calculated based on a number of factors under New Jersey law. The courts use tools to generate child support guidelines, which the judge will use to identify the rate and schedule of child support payments. 

What Factors Go Into Calculating Child Support?

Each child support case is unique, but there are numbers and costs that New Jersey courts consider when issuing child support orders. Three types of costs are examined: fixed, variable, and controlled. 

Fixed costs are expenses generated regardless of which parent the child is staying with at any given time (such as a mortgage). Variable costs are expenses that occur only when the child is present. Controlled costs include things such as clothes and entertainment that may vary between parents.

Each child support case is unique, but  New Jersey courts also consider:

  • Number of children
  • Age of children
  • Parental income
  • Amount of annual overnights spent with each parent
  • List of overall expenses for each child

Child support can be even more complicated if you’re a high-net-worth couple. The New Jersey Guidelines dictate the amount of child support you’ll pay when your combined annual income is between $8,840 or $170 per week up to $187,000 or $3,600 per week. If your child’s expenses exceed those amounts, the Guidelines may no longer apply.

Any additional expenses not covered by that amount are up to the judge’s discretion. That’s why negotiating a successful child support agreement is best done with the help of a trained professional.

What Are the Percentages of Income Per Child?

In almost all cases, the noncustodial parent is the one paying child support. New Jersey looks at the parents’ combined yearly income to calculate the basic child support obligation or the minimum amount of money required to maintain the child’s well-being. 

That number will then be multiplied by a percentage per child, and the resulting amount will be divided between the parents based on their income and their custodial rights. Calculating child support can become tricky when the courts are trying to decide how much money to impute or award to a non-working parent.

That’s why you want to work with an experienced family law attorney so there are no surprises and you can come to a financial support agreement as smoothly as possible. 

Failure to Pay Child Support in New Jersey

Failing to pay child support can have serious consequences regarding your custodial rights, future income, and current assets. If you can pay child support and refuse to make payments, you can be found in contempt of court and subject to fines, jail time, or both.

What Are the Consequences of Unpaid Child Support?

Consequences of unpaid child support can include late fees that build up each week, landing you in a mountain of debt that results in further legal action. You don’t want to let unpaid child support start to snowball. Additionally, unpaid child support can result in legal action that has long-term effects. 

The courts can withhold your income, suspend your license, issue judgments that prevent you from selling property, lower your credit score, redirect your tax refund, and seize your assets. You can also face a warrant for you to appear in court, which can result in jail time if you don’t attend. If you want to avoid negative consequences, work with a child support lawyer to ensure you make the best case for yourself and your financial future. 

How to Get Help If Unable to Pay Child Support

If you cannot pay the child support obligation due to an unexpected change in income, health, or other circumstance, it may be time to file a motion to modify your child support order. At Graziano & Flynn, we work with people from all backgrounds on child support issues to help you reach an agreement that prioritizes you and your relationship with your child.

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Contact a New Jersey Child Support Lawyer

Understanding your options when it comes to child support doesn’t have to be overwhelming. At Graziano & Flynn, we’re a people-first firm that centers you and the needs of your child. We’ll empower you to get the money your child deserves and protect your interests.

Reach out for a consultation today by calling 856-499-4351 (toll-free at 877-788-1293). Or you can also send us an email, and we will respond promptly.

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