Monmouth County Child Support Attorneys
Helping NJ Parents With Child Support Matters in Red Bank and Surrounding Areas
New Jersey child support guidelines are in place to help determine the amount of child support that should be paid. The amount is based on a number of factors, primarily the parents' income and it is carefully designed to cover the cost of raising a child. About 38 percent of each child support payment is supposed to cover fixed costs such as housing and utilities. Another 37 percent is supposed to cover variable costs like transportation and food. The remainder is for controlled costs, including clothing. Our Monmouth County child support attorneys can help you ensure that you have everything you need to ensure your child is well.
The Value of Having Experienced Attorneys on Your Side
While child support guidelines prevent many of the disputes that would otherwise arise over the amount paid, they are not appropriate in all situations and they do not have to be followed. The court can modify or disregard them when there is good cause. The guidelines were not designed to cover high-income individuals.
It is important that you choose an experienced lawyer to make certain that guidelines are being followed when necessary and disregarded when appropriate. A Monmouth County child support lawyer will also make certain that all of the numbers used when following the guidelines are accurate.
At the Law Office of Steven P. Monaghan, LLC, we take great care in addressing child support. When you choose our law firm in Red Bank, NJ, you can benefit from the experience of an attorney who is certified by the Supreme Court of New Jersey as a matrimonial law attorney. We know how to handle above-guidelines child support. We understand how costs like child care, health care and extracurricular activities should be considered. When a child has special needs that are not accounted for in the guidelines, we make certain the appropriate steps are taken so the amount of child support is fair and sufficient.
Factors that Determine Child Support in New Jersey
The factors the New Jersey court considers when determining child support include:
- The needs of the child
- Standard of living and economic circumstances of each parent
- All sources of income and assets of each parent
- Earning ability of each parent including educational background, training, employment skills, work experience, custodial responsibility for children including the cost of providing child care and the length and time and cost of each parent to obtain training or experience for appropriate employment
- The needs and capacity of the child for education, including higher education
- Age and health of the child and each parent
- Income, assets and earning ability of the child
- Responsibility of the parents for the court-ordered support of others
- Responsible debts and liabilities of each child and parent
- Any other factors the court may deem relevant
Paying for College is Required, Too
In addition to the basic child support, New Jersey is one of the few states authorizing the allocation of the cost of college between a child's parents, as the state has determined divorced parents have an obligation to contribute to the college education of their children.
These factors include, but are not limited to:
- Whether the parent, if still living with the child, would have contributed toward the costs requested in higher education
- The effect of the background, values and goals of the parent on the reasonable expectations of the child for higher education
- The amount of the contribution sought by the child for the cost of higher education
- The ability of the parents to pay that cost
- The relationship of the requested contribution to the kind of school or course of study sought by the child
- The financial resources of both parents
- The commitment to and aptitude of the child for the requested education
- The financial resources of the child, including assets owned individually or held in custodianship or trust
- The ability of the child to earn income during the school year or on vacation
- The availability of financial aid in the form of college grants, loans and scholarships
- The child's relationship with the paying parent, including the mutual affection and shared goals as well as responsiveness to the parental advice and guidance
- The relationship of the education requested to any prior training as the prior overall goals of the child
When it comes to the issue of higher education for their children, divorced parents must work together.
Paying for College: What is Required of Both Parents
Under New Jersey law, both parents are required to talk about the educational decisions for their children and both parents must be given the opportunity to be involved in all decisions regarding the child's higher education. Otherwise, not doing so may affect whether or not the court would require the excluded parent to contribute toward the cost of college.
Both parents contribute proportionately based on their individual financial condition and after the child has exhausted all other possible financial resources, such as 529s, trusts and savings and after the child has applied for all loans, grants and scholarships.
Finally, there is very often an overlap between the amount of child support and also the cost of college. Therefore, the child's attendance at college is usually a change in circumstances which would warrant a modification of the present child support order.
Modifying Child Support in Monmouth County
New Jersey courts allow modifications to an initial child support agreement if the party requesting the modification can demonstrate that their circumstances have changed significantly and for the foreseeable future, such as:
- The loss of a home
- Serious illness or a serious injury
- The child has sustained a serious injury or contracted a medical condition
- Significant pay cut or job loss
- Change in federal income tax laws
- A new marriage or cohabitation situation
- A job promotion or inheritance of a large amount of money
What Happens if You Cannot Pay Child Support?
Through no fault of their own, many people find themselves in a situation where they cannot make their child support or alimony payments. Maybe it is the loss of a job. Or maybe it is poor health. Perhaps this describes you.
Don't Risk Incarceration: Attend an "Ability to Pay Hearing"
Even though it is impossible for you to meet your financial obligations, this will not stop the probation department or your former spouse from enforcing your child support and alimony obligations. As a result, you may be incarcerated.
Don't risk the real possibility of incarceration. Take the first step in protecting yourself by asking the court for an "ability to pay hearing." During this hearing you will have the opportunity to present evidence and testimony proving you cannot pay support and that your failure to pay is not intentional.
If you are successful at this hearing, the court should stay enforcement of the order to pay support so that you are not incarcerated.
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