Edward R. Weinstein, Esq.

New Jersey Child Support Amnesty; A Sign of the Times

As a New Jersey Divorce Attorney, over the past few years I have noticed a sharp increase in consultations with clients who are seeking a reduction in their child support obligations. On the other hand, many new and previous clients have been visiting my office with a reduction of New Jersey child support application in their hands and seek my office’s help in defending same. This has been the case ever since the “bubble burst” and the U.S. economy tanked in 2008. Well, with the economy still in shambles, the state has been forced to offer New Jersey Child Support Amnesty. So what does this mean and how does it work? Let’s explore.

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For one week beginning April 28, 2014, any person with an outstanding bench warrant due to failure to pay New Jersey child support may seek some relief. Specifically, these folks may visit the appropriate county probation department through May 3, 2014. At that time, they may make a payment and/or agree to a payment plan. In turn, they shall have their arrest warrant lifted. If a payment plan cannot be worked out, then the individual may leave without any threat of being arrested. However, the bench warrant would still be in full effect. More details are available at njchildsupport.org

Why would the state grant New Jersey Child Support amnesty? First, officials have made it clear that the amnesty program shall only be used sparingly. As a matter of public policy, authorities do not want people to think that this type of opportunity will occur frequently for fear that some individuals may try to manipulate the program. In fact, it has been over 10 years since the last time this program has been offered.

Second, another goal of the New Jersey Child Support amnesty is to promote more parents into providing financial support to their children. By taking away the risk of arrest, the objective here is that people will then step forward and do the right thing. Moreover, children need to see their parents acting responsibly and being part of their children’s lives, both financially and emotionally. Presently, nearly 500,000 children rely on New Jersey child support and nearly 60% of cases involve arrears.

Now please let me be very clear. I have no patience for an individual who does not take care of their children in any regard, including financial support. I have argued more than once in Court, “well then he can drive a taxi at night but this child support shall be paid!” Having said that, everyone knows that the economic recovery has been painfully slow. Therefore, there are people out there who are truly trying their best but simply cannot give up. If you find yourself in such a predicament, please take advantage of New Jersey Child Support Amnesty Week.

If you have more questions, please do not ever hesitate to contact my office to discuss your situation. Thank you.