Child support is money paid by non-custodial parents to custodial parents to help pay for their child’s well-being and needs. Usually, New Jersey child support obligations will remain in place until the child reaches age 17 or graduates (completes) high school.
While this is generally what happens, there are exceptions. For example, if a child has mental or physical special needs, child support may continue beyond age 18.
If you have questions about child support, including how to modify an existing order or obtain it, contact Sangiovanni Marchetti for a consultation.
Establishing Child Support in Neptune, New Jersey
It does not matter if a child’s parents were married, divorced, or never married; all situations are treated equally regarding what is in a child’s best interest and welfare.
The law always puts the child’s needs first.
Some of the factors considered when determining the amount of child support a non-custodial parent should pay include all basic needs a child has, including the following:
- Shelter, clothing, and food
- Childcare costs
- Health insurance
- Travel costs related to visitation
- Medical costs
- Basic education costs
The court will also consider other factors based on the situation when determining how much child support should be paid.
Most child support issues involve some level of conflict or disagreement between a child’s parents. While it can happen, it is rare for parents to reach a child support agreement without the court’s intervention. Even if they do this, there is the possibility that the parent who is paying support will default, and the parent receiving it will face challenges trying to collect it since there is no official legal agreement in place.
It is always best to have child support established by a legal agreement. This should include how much should be paid, how often, and other factors related to the situation.
Using Mediation to Settle Child Support Issues in New Jersey
Mediation is an effective method couples can use to settle disputes related to child support. Mediation aims to determine what is in the child’s best interest and allow the parents to avoid going to court. Some parents will choose mediation as a first option because it helps them avoid expensive and time-consuming litigation.
During mediation, the parents can discuss the needs of the child or children and what type of financial support is needed. They can work to come to an agreement without going to court.
In many cases, mediation is considered a favorable option because parents negotiate the terms of child support themselves, which can reduce the possibility of disputes down the road.
Going to Court to Determine Child Support in Neptune, New Jersey
Sometimes, parents cannot resolve child support issues through mediation. In this case, it will be decided in court through litigation.
This means the parents will go before a judge, who will issue a Court Order outlining the terms of child support to be paid and the schedule of when it should be paid. The calculation model used to determine child support in New Jersey is called an “Income Shares Model.”
The state also views child support as a duty that both parents have and that children should benefit from their parent’s income. This is true even if the parent does not see or have contact with the child. They still have the responsibility to contribute to their financial situation.
Get Help with Your Child Support Situation
Obtaining or modifying child support orders can be challenging in some situations. Our legal team understands how important it is for a child to be financially supported by both parents and will work with our clients to ensure their needs are met.
While these issues can be emotional and challenging, they are not impossible. We know the law and can use it to help you get the best possible outcome for your situation.
The first step is to contact our office and schedule an initial consultation to discuss your situation and needs.