How is the Recipient of Child Support Determined?
Although child support often gets sent to a child’s primary caregiver, that person does not have the right to the payments – the child does. The custodial parent might be the one who deposits the checks and uses them to pay for the child’s food and clothing, though, especially if the child is young. How do judges decide which parent will be on the receiving end of the support payments?
Some Background on Child Support Determinations
The purpose of child support payments is to financially provide for children when the parents are not together. When one parent has full custody, the other one generally makes the payments. With joint custody arrangements, the parent with the higher income could be ordered to pay the other. Noncustodial parents usually (but not always) pay child support to custodial parents, but things can be challenging when physical custody is shared. The child’s parents do not need to be married for a judge to order child support, and they can be of the same or different genders.
Besides physical custody, child support determinations are based on how much income each parent earns. If physical custody is shared and both parents earn around the same amount of money, there might not be any child support payments at all, depending on the court’s decision. State laws will affect how the amounts are calculated.
Does New Jersey Have Child Support Laws?
Like every other state in the U.S., New Jersey has specific laws pertaining to how child support payments are determined. All states impose severe penalties on parents who do not make their obligatory payments, and this can include civil penalties and even jail time. Damaged credit scores and garnished wages are not uncommon penalties either.
New Jersey Child Support Guidelines are designed to have parents share the costs of raising their children (from birth up until age 18) in the fairest ways possible. These rules are based on an important principle: the child’s financial support is the responsibility of both parents. Here are some of the factors that will be taken into consideration:
- Alimony and child support payments from previous partnerships.
- Daycare costs.
- How much money each parent earns, including bonuses, severance, and commissions.
- New relationships where a new partner contributes to household costs.
- Other assets and debts.
- Payroll deductions like union dues.
- The child’s age.
- Which parent’s health care benefits cover the child.
Every situation is different, which is why if your circumstances should be discussed with your attorney and with the Court. Judges are permitted to deviate from the guidelines, but the reasons need to be legitimate. It is also possible to modify an existing child support order when situations have changed significantly, but a judge must approve that as well.
The Marlton Child Support Lawyers at Goldstein & Mignogna, P.A. Assist Separating Parents with Child Custody Determinations
When parents do not see eye-to-eye on child custody and child support arrangements, their children could be the ones who suffer. If you need legal help with these matters, reach out to the trusted Marlton child support lawyers at Goldstein & Mignogna, P.A. Call our Marlton, New Jersey offices at 856-890-9400 or complete our online form for more information. We serve families throughout South Jersey in Marlton, Burlington County, Camden County, Gloucester County, and statewide.