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New Jersey Child Support Attorneys

When a couple cannot agree upon the amount of child support or emancipation terms, a couple must litigate the matter and have this issue decided by a judge. Child support cases are typically decided based on the New Jersey Child Support Guidelines and the discretion of the court. As with all issues related to children, the court will always act in the child’s best interest.   The premise of the guidelines is that child support is a duty of both parents, children are entitled to share in the current income of both parents and children should not be the economic victims of divorce or out-of-wedlock birth. The goal is to lessen the impact of the divorce on the child. Child support is a significant legal topic. When parents divorce or separate, it is important to have legal support to effectively represent your needs in court. To schedule a consultation with a skillful law firm with significant child support experience, contact the New Jersey child support attorneys at Haber Silver Russoniello & Dunn.

New Jersey Child Support Guidelines

When a court hears a case based on the contested issue of child support, the judge will typically apply the New Jersey Child Support Guidelines as the basis for the support structure. The Guidelines are in place to ensure that child support is a continuing obligation for both parents, the child gets to share in the income of both parents, and the financial impact of the divorce is mitigated to the best of everyone’s ability. As always, the court will decide on these issues with the child’s best interests in mind. Simply put, the Guidelines are a general formula to take each party’s financial situation and many other factors in order to make a fair and just determination.

The New Jersey Child Support Guidelines apply to parties whose combined net incomes are greater than $170 per week and less than $3,600.  If the parties’ combined net income exceeds $3,600 per week the court will typically determine child support pursuant to the guidelines and then add a discretionary amount based upon the factors set forth in N.J.S.A. 2A:34-23.

These can include, but are not limited to:

  • The child’s needs
  • The custody arrangement
  • The family’s standard of living
  • The economic circumstances of each parent
  • Income and assets of each parent
  • Earning ability of each parent (education, training, skills, etc.)
  • Custodial responsibility for the children
  • Need and capacity of each child for education
  • Age and health of each parent
  • Age and health of the child
  • The income, assets and earning ability of the child
  • Other child support orders
  • Reasonable debts and liabilities of each child and parent

When does child support end?

Parents in New Jersey must financially support their children until they are deemed emancipated. Under previous New Jersey case law, a presumption arose in favor of emancipation once a child reached the age of 18 unless the child was still attending high school or secondary school, still attending college or vocational school, or had a physical or mental disability. A new statute went into effect in New Jersey on February 1, 2017, which establishes 19 as the presumptive age for termination of child support.  However, there are still several circumstances under the new statute where child support will not automatically terminate upon a child reaching the age of 19.

For example, if a child is receiving higher education, such as in college, the support obligation can extend through the age of 23. Additionally, if a child has special needs, it may also warrant ongoing child support.

Am I obligated to pay for my child’s college expenses?

If you and your spouse cannot agree upon contribution to college, capable parents could still be legally responsible for the cost of education.  Many factors set forth in N.J.S.A. 2A:34-23(a) and Newburgh v. Arrigo, 88 N.J. 529 (1982) will determine how much, if any, parents will need to pay.

Contact our NJ child support attorneys

Haber Silver Russoniello & Dunn has decades of experience helping clients with all facets of divorce. Child support and college contributions are very significant issues. If you are interested in knowing more about this topic or need quality legal support through a child support case, contact the dedicated Morris County child support attorneys from Haber Silver Russoniello & Dunn for a consultation today.

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