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Child support is the financial sum that the non-custodial parent pays the primary custodial parent for the children’s needs. Child support is often one of the most contentious issues during divorce for many reasons. Both parents are required to be financially responsible for their children’s basic needs in the same standard of living that they were accustomed to during their marriage following divorce.

In New Jersey, child support is meant to cover various expenses, such as the following:

  • Childcare
  • Education
  • Food, clothing, and shelter
  • Healthcare and health insurance
  • Medical and emergency care
  • Visitation travel
  • Any other expenses the court deems relevant

How Is Child Support Calculated in New Jersey?

New Jersey uses a shared income model to calculate child support allotments. It examines the parents’ combined net income and compares it to the average cost of raising a child in the county where the custodial parent resides. Net income is acquired through employment income, overtime pay, commissions, bonuses, unemployment benefits, investment income, retirement payouts, and other sources of income.

In establishing the average cost, the court considers additional factors, such as the children’s living arrangements, daycare and healthcare costs, the parents’ Social Security benefits, and other relevant factors. The judge then adds or deducts from the average cost based on several factors, including but not limited to the following:

  • Income-based division: The basic child support cost is split between parents according to the difference in their respective incomes.
  • Parenting time deduction: The court may award special child support deductions if the non-custodial parent has more parenting time than in an average case.
  • Special factors: The court will consider the cost of certain factors, such as health insurance, extracurricular activities, daycare, and child support payments for other children, and whether those costs should be added to or deducted from the basic child support award.

Though there may be some deviation, the court generally uses these basic guidelines to develop a child support figure. Once all factors are considered, the court calculates a final child support award.

What if My Spouse and I Disagree About Child Support?

Our Paramus divorce lawyers utilize alternative dispute resolution (ADR) methods, such as mediation, to resolve divorce disputes whenever possible. Mediation allows couples to discuss and negotiate issues, such as child support, in a structured environment with a neutral facilitator who assists couples in reaching amicable and mutual agreements. There are significant benefits of mediation for divorcing couples, including but not limited to:

  • Mediation allows more control over the decision-making process.
  • Mediation generally leads to reduced conflict between both parties.
  • It leads to full disclosure of relevant information.
  • Mediation allows for open and honest conversations.
  • It leads to productive negotiations between the spouses.
  • Spouses can reach tailored settlement agreements in mediation.
  • Mediation is confidential and typically less timely and costly than courtroom litigation.

Trained mediators help open lines of communication, identify issues, concerns, and priorities, find common ground, and offer alternative solutions for parents to openly discuss their children’s needs and reach an agreement on child support.

In many cases, mediation is a voluntary method of resolving disputes. However, if arguments over child support become contentious, New Jersey courts may order couples to attend mediation to facilitate better communication and negotiation and reach a mutual agreement.

Can I Request a Change to My Child Support Orders?

Changes in circumstances occur frequently, requiring modifications to child support orders. The most common reason for modifying child support orders is significant change in either parent’s income. Either parent can petition the court to have child support orders modified, provided at least one parent experienced a substantial change in circumstances, such as the following:

  • The custodial parent obtains employment or increased income.
  • Parent’s loss of income.
  • Higher cost of living.
  • Increase or decrease in non-custodial parent’s income.
  • Custodial parent loses housing or is cohabitating with another adult.
  • One parent begins supporting additional children.
  • Serious health condition, injury, or disability.
  • One parent receives a large sum of money, such as an inheritance.
  • Increased or decreased parenting time.

Child support is automatically increased every two years in New Jersey to accommodate annual increases in the cost of living, though additional modifications are often necessary. Federal laws require child support orders for families receiving Temporary Assistance for Needy Families (TANF) benefits to be reviewed every three years and adjusted if needed.

How Will a Paramus Child Support Lawyer Help Me?

Without a thorough understanding of New Jersey’s complex child support laws, you will not likely persuade the court to hear your arguments without legal representation. Hiring an experienced Paramus child support lawyer will ensure your concerns will be heard and quickly resolved for the most favorable outcome. Our skilled Paramus child support lawyers at Torchin Martel Orr LLC will do the following:

  • Enforce child support payments.
  • Investigate each parent’s financial standing.
  • Help locate an absent parent.
  • Protect your legal rights.
  • Represent you in court hearings if necessary.
  • Resolve disputes.
  • Secure late payments.

A Paramus child support lawyer ensures your children receive the financial support they need and deserve. A lawyer is experienced in navigating the complexities of child support laws and procedures, ensuring that all aspects of the support arrangement are fair and in the children’s best interests.

A lawyer will fight for your rights, whether seeking child support or defending against unjust demands. A child support lawyer will provide invaluable guidance throughout the legal process, from calculating appropriate support amounts to representing you in court if necessary. A lawyer will secure the financial resources for your children’s well-being and future.

Our Experienced Paramus Child Support Lawyers at Torchin Martel Orr LLC Will Help You Today

If you have questions or concerns regarding child support, our skilled Paramus child support lawyers at Torchin Martel Orr LLC will review your case and discuss your legal options. Call us at 201-971-4866 or contact us online to schedule a consultation. Located in Paramus, New Jersey, we serve clients in Bergen, Passaic, Morris, Essex, and Hudson Counties, and northern New Jersey.

“I wholeheartedly recommend Scott Orr to anyone considering mediation as a means to streamline a divorce”
- MONTY
“He is very kind and empathetic, and he has a genuine interest in helping people.”
- JULIE
“Always available to hear you out”
- FORMER CLIENT