Essex County Child Support Lawyer
Raising children is not a cheap endeavor. When parents divorce or are no longer live together, one parent is often required to pay child support to the other. For many parents, these payments provide crucial assistance with paying household bills, buying groceries, and otherwise providing for their kids.
Child support payments are frequently a source of conflict in family law cases. If your child’s parent is not making support payments, or if you need to increase or decrease your support obligations, contact an Essex County child support lawyer to discuss your options. A hard-working family attorney could explain your rights and champion your case.
How to Pursue Child Support
Parents in Essex County have several options to obtain child support. If a child’s parents were married before their split, child support would be decided as part of the martial separation agreement and divorce decree.
If the parents were not married, they could still agree to a child support arrangement and file it with the court. The judge in the case would approve the agreement and order child support accordingly. If the parents cannot agree on the amount of support to be provided, the judge can determine the amount of support the law requires.
Parents may also apply for child support with the state’s Office of Child Support Services. This agency helps people locate absent parents and could help collect payments from parents that are avoiding their child support obligations.
Calculating Child Support
Strictly speaking, child support is owed to the child, not to the child’s parent. The money provided is meant to cover costs like food and shelter, as well as health insurance costs, educational expenses, child care costs, and other basic needs.
The state of New Jersey provides several tables, forms, and worksheets to help parents calculate the appropriate amount of support. Typically, the amount of support owed depends on several factors. As noted in New Jersey Revised Statutes §9:17-53, these may include the needs of each child, the income of each parent, daycare costs and other expenses shouldered by each parent, and the number of overnight visits each parent enjoys.
The parent who has the children for the majority of time during the year receives child support payments from the parent who has less parenting time. Conversely, a parent who rarely has overnight visits with their children may have a much larger child support obligation that a parent who splits time relatively equally. An Essex County child support attorney could provide further clarification about how these factors may impact a particular case.
Child Support Enforcement and Modification
Both parents are required to help support their children financially, and both parents must earn enough income to pay for their needs. Parents who are not contributing enough financially could be ordered by the court to seek employment or a better-paying job so that they may be able to fully provide for their children.
Accordingly, child support obligations could fluctuate with each parent’s circumstances. A child support lawyer in Essex County could help enforce support obligations in court by filing motions to hold a parent in contempt for nonpayment, or by asking the court to garnish that parent’s wages or tax returns.
Family attorneys may also help parents modify their child support agreement and adjust it to fit their current circumstances. Modification agreements can change the amount of the payment in light of a parent’s new job or could help a parent catch up on past-due payments. Parents can also agree to waive missed payments and start over again with a new arrangement.
Talk with an Essex County Child Support Attorney Today
Children deserve financial support from both of their parents, and the law in Essex County gives parents the right to enforce these obligations in court. If you are seeking child support from your child’s parent, or if you need to modify the amount of child support you are paying or receiving, schedule a consultation with an Essex County child support attorney to learn more about your rights and responsibilities.