At Helfand & Associates, we handle all aspects of New Jersey child support matters in Morristown and throughout Morris County.
As Morris County, NJ Divorce Attorneys we fully understand and fight for the child’s right to be supported. New Jersey uses Child Support Guidelines which were based upon economic data to simulate the percentage of parental net income that is spent on children in intact families.
The guidelines are calculated based on the net income of the parties and the number of overnights of parenting time or visitation schedule. The awards include the child’s share of expenses for housing, food, clothing, transportation, entertainment, and unreimbursed health care, up to $250.00 each year. Expenses that can be added to the basic support are childcare expenses, health insurance for the child, and predictable and recurring healthcare expenses.
As the net income of both parents is considered, income must be accurate. If someone is willfully underemployed, income will be imputed.
There are times when the guidelines are not used. This occurs when there is extremely low or extremely high income. Parents can also agree not to use the guidelines, but it is necessary to state in the parties’ agreement why this is being done. In this instance, the parties must identify their respective incomes as a baseline figure for child support modifications in the future.
Child support continues until the child is emancipated. There are several conditions which constitute emancipation. Reaching the age of majority alone (18 years of age) may not in itself be emancipation. The child has to be no longer dependent upon the parent for support. Emancipation includes marriage of the child, entry into the armed forces, and full-time work. A child in college full-time is not considered emancipated. However the New Jersey Child Support Guidelines will not be used for a college student. An analysis of the child’s needs will be made and support awarded according to the parent’s ability to pay.
If the amount of child support is no longer fair, it can be modified. For example, if there is a change of circumstances due to a significant, permanent loss of a parent’s earnings, child support can be modified. However the parent would be required to show that he/she has made efforts to maintain his/her earnings. Additionally the court will be mainly guided by the “best interest of the child.”
It is important to show that the parent responsible has sought employment. A careful analysis is done of the parent’s job applications, the skills and education of the parent, and the parent’s age and health.
These very same factors are reviewed for modifications of alimony as well, but for child support, not only must one prove a change of circumstances, but the best interest of the child is the primary issue to be addressed.
Our Morris County Divorce Attorneys at Helfand & Associates have handled innumerable matters pertaining to issues surrounding child support. Call us at (973) 428-0800 or contact us online for a free 1/2 hr. consultation.