Articles Posted in Child Support

What Government Agency enforces a NJ child support order?

The New Jersey Probation Division is tasked with enforcing New Jersey child support orders.

What happens if NJ child support is paid through the New Jersey Probation Department and the obligor fails to pay?

If the obligor fails to make scheduled child support payments, an enforcement hearing may be scheduled to deal with the issue. At the hearing the parents will typically present evidence of their financial situation. The obligor is required to attend the hearing, and if he or she fails to do so, a bench warrant may be issues for his or her arrest. If an arrest warrant is issued, the obligor’s driver’s license may be suspended as well.

Who conducts an enforcement hearing and what is the process?

At the hearing the case will be heard either by a Hearing Officer or a judge. Hearing Officers can make recommendations, but if either party objects to the recommendation a judge will hear the case instead. If neither party objects to the Hearing Officer’s recommendation, a judge will simply review the recommendation and if satisfied, will sign off on it, making the recommendation an enforceable order. Continue reading

Definition of Emancipation of a Child

Emancipation is the legal act of a minor becoming free from the custody and control of a parent or guardian. Likewise, the parent or guardian is free from responsibility toward the child.

Emancipation does not automatically occur when a child has reached 18 years of age, as many people believe. In fact, in New Jersey it typically occurs much later for reasons we will discuss below.

Child Support – When Is it Terminated?

In most instances we use the term ‘emancipated’ when discussing the termination of child support payments. At the outset it’s important to understand that in New Jersey child support payments do not automatically end when a child reaches 18.

How is a Child Emancipated?

Since there is no set age at which a child is automatically emancipated in New Jersey, emancipation can occur in two different ways. The parents divorce settlement agreement can specify when emancipation will occur. If not provided for in the settlement agreement, a court will declare a child emancipated if it determines that the child is outside the ‘sphere of influence’ of the parents. Determining whether a child is outside the ‘sphere of influence’ is fact sensitive, but generally means that the child lives independently, without depending on the parents for support. Continue reading

NJ Child support obligations are extremely serious, not just because it goes to give the child food, clothing and shelter, but because the consequences for failing to pay support can have serious impact on the payor’s life.

MECHANISMS TO ENFORCE PAYMENT AND PENALTIES FOR NON-PAYMENT

  • The court can give you a judgment on arrears calculated by the court. Filing this judgment places a lien on any real property of the payor and shows up on credit reports. If the real property is sold, your lien must be paid in full.
  • Garnish payor’s paycheck, meaning that the child support is automatically taken out of the paycheck for you.
  • If the payor does not appear at a court hearing for enforcement of NJ child support, a bench warrant can be issued and the payor can be put in jail. This incarceration can be done on work release, or without work release. This could also result in the payor’s driver’s license being suspended. Incarceration does not eliminate the child support that is due or becomes due.
  • When an arrearage in child support is over $2,500, the payor can be denied issuance or renewal of a passport.
  • The court can execute against the payor’s assets based on a judgment for arrears. This includes include bank accounts and other assets.
  • If more than $100 is owed in arrears, this can be reported to credit bureaus and will impact the payor’s credit worthiness.
  • Tax refunds and homestead rebates can be taken to apply toward arrears in excess of $500, though in public assistance cases the amount is $150.
  • If the payor has failed to pay child support for six months or more, they can have their driver’s license, professional license and recreational licenses suspended.
  • Lottery winnings of $600 or more can be seized if the payor owes $1,000 or more in child support arrears.
  • Levies can be placed against workers’ compensation and insurance claims of the payor.
  • Project Save Our Children: A federal program that assesses misdemeanor or felony charges for non-payment of child support under the following circumstances:
  • Refusing to pay child support for a year or more
  • Traveling to another state to avoid payment of child support obligations
  • Owing $5,000 or more in child support

Continue reading

New Jersey Child Support Guidelines are extremely complicated, put together in about a hundred pages of principles, standards and considerations. The schedule of child support obligations, which is one of many appendices to the statute, is merely a starting point in determining parents’ child support obligation. The premise underlying the lengthy list of considerations for calculation of child support is that both parents have an obligation to support their child.

As one would expect, child support starts with a calculation of both parents combined net income. This includes regular income, pensions, retirements, interest, disability, basically, income from absolutely all sources. When you deal with a regular paycheck every week, and nothing more, the determination of combined net income is simple. But where there are numerous sources of income or self-employment, there are certain expenses used as deductions to that income to determine the net income. Gross, of course, is all income received prior to reducing it by taxes and certain allowable expenses. Net income is the amount after those deductions.

WHAT BASIC NJ CHILD SUPPORT IS SUPPOSED TO PAY

The purpose of child support is to pay certain of the child’s expenses, not the expenses of either parent. The basics include:

  • Food
  • Clothing
  • Shelter
  • Entertainment
  • Unreimbursed healthcare expenses up to $250 annually per child
  • Transportation costs
  • Various other items

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Peter Van Aulen is certified by the New Jersey Supreme Court as a Matrimonial Attorney.

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