Fort Lee Child Support Lawyer
The law protects a child’s right to financial support from both parents. You may be separated from your child’s other parent, were never married to them, or are in the process of divorce. In other cases, there may already be a child support order, but a parent’s payments may be in arrears. In any scenario involving these issues, a Fort Lee child support lawyer could provide the help you need.
Our team of attorneys knows that taking care of children by yourself can be overwhelming. We also know that most parents want to understand their financial obligations. By working with a committed family attorney, you could protect your rights as a parent and help ensure your children are adequately provided for with a fair child support agreement.
How Family Courts Decide the Amount of Child Support
The right to child support belongs to the child, not the parent. Parents cannot agree to deny this right, and courts are vigilant about enforcing it. The needs of the children must always come first, and the amount owed is calculated by the New Jersey Child Support Guidelines.
Generally, these Guidelines focus on factors related to the child’s welfare, such as:
- The child’s age, health, needs and what standard of living they are used to
- Each parent’s earning capacity and work and education histories
- Expenses each parent has historically paid
The Guidelines also consider things like how many nights the child or children stay with each parent. In calculating the amount, the Guidelines also look at elements such as the cost of daycare for a working parent, whether one party pays child support to children outside the relationship, and the cost of necessities like healthcare insurance.
A team of knowledgeable and experienced Fort Lee lawyers could have an understanding about how a court will calculate child support. Using the Guidelines, a court comes to a total amount and then allocates that cost between parents based on all these factors.
Other Factors Affecting Child Support Awards and Modification
There are some limitations on when the Guidelines apply. For example, if the parents’ combined income exceeds $187,200, a court may work outside the guidelines to accurately and fairly determine child support. The Guidelines are meant for children under the age of 18 or those over 18 but still in high school. They are not intended for children in college, although a marital settlement agreement could determine amounts of support related to college and time when the student is home during the summer.
There are some scenarios after divorce or an award of child support where one party might need to change the amount. A court will consider modifying the amount if there are changed circumstances like a significant employment development for a parent or a job loss. Courts may also look carefully at requests based on decreased income. However, if a judge finds that a parent is “voluntarily underemployed,” the application may be denied.
Any time there is a request for child support or modification of an existing order, the parties must file complete disclosure through a Case Information Statement (CIS). A Fort Lee child support lawyer could assist with the preparation of these and other necessary documents. If a parent fails to pay court-ordered support, a lawyer could file an action for enforcement, which might result in sanctions including wage garnishment.
Work with a Fort Lee Child Support Lawyer Today
The economic support of your children is crucial to their welfare. Our team of Fort Lee child support lawyers understands the financial stress you might feel in raising children. Parenting is a decades-long responsibility, and you may need help when circumstances change. Reach out to a dedicated attorney today for the information and advocacy you need to support the growth and well-being of your family.