Articles Posted in Child Support

Under New Jersey child support laws the parent of primary residence should not gain extra money via child support due to “incidental” beyond what is necessary for the child to enjoy a lifestyle that they would expect to have due to the high amount of income that the family unit receives. This lawyer now analyzes a paramount case in New Jersey Child Support law for wealthy parents and their children.

In Loro v. Colliano, the mother filed for divorced from her husband after a four-year marriage. The parties had one child born of the marriage, a daughter, born on March 6, 1984. A judgment of divorce was entered on June 13, 1991 after very combative litigation. At the time of the divorce, the father was earning approximately $630,000 per year. The mother was awarded sole custody of the parties’ daughter and the father was ordered to pay the wife $1,500 per month for two years in rehabilitative alimony to make the wife whole again. The father was also ordered to pay $375,000 to the wife in equitable distribution. Lastly, the father was ordered to pay $500 per week in child support.

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It depends upon the parents’ respective incomes. The lawyers at our law firm located in East Brunswick, New Jersey advise our clients that when there is a true joint residential custody and parenting time arrangement, New Jersey’s child support guidelines account for this equal time and are adjusted accordingly. Now, if one parent has a much greater annual income than the other, there will be a child support component (although the amount will be dramatically less that if the parenting plan was an “every other weekend” scenario). In the following case, please take note that, as the parents’ annual incomes were nearly equivalent, the judge properly ordered that neither party shall pay child support to the other.

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In Raucci v. Valotta, the parties had been in a dating relationship that lasted approximately three years. The parties had one son from the relationship, born in 2014. The parties used mediation, a form of alternate dispute resolution that occurs outside of the courtroom, to solve most of their parenting issues. Continue reading

No. Child Support under New Jersey law is clear that child support is intended for the “child” and not the “parent.” Therefore, the lawyers at our law firm in East Brunswick, New Jersey understand that as the child support is legally for the “child,” a parent cannot waive the money as it is not theirs to waive.

In Conte v. Ainsworth, the parties had one child, a daughter, born in 1992. After the child was born, the parties consented to an agreement that included a parenting time schedule and an amount the father was to pay the mother each week in child support. The father agreed to pay the mother child support each week until the parties’ daughter was emancipated, meaning when she would be legally recognized as an adult. The father never utilized his parenting time and did not see the parties’ daughter until she was an adult. At the time of the trial, the father was paying $330 per week in child support toward the parties’ daughter, who is presently twenty-five years old.

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No. If you voluntarily become unemployed and go back to college, New Jersey law is clear that this voluntary decision is temporary in nature. Moreover, a judge of the Family Part of the Superior Court of New Jersey shall not relieve a parent of their legal obligation to be responsible for supporting their children when making decisions and changes concerning their occupation. This is another example of why folks should consult with a lawyer (or law firm) who only handles family law related matters before making significant changes to their income or filing an application to reduce their child support.

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Child support is the right of every child, and during my many years of practicing family law I have seen first-hand that New Jersey Family Part courts will enforce a child support obligation in almost any situation. That said, a child support obligation may be modified upon a showing of a valid change of circumstance. One such change of circumstance might be unemployment, but only under certain circumstances. The unemployment must not be voluntary or temporary. A parent with a child support obligation cannot just choose to quit his or her job and expect to no longer have to pay child support. Sometimes people leave their jobs to enroll in college full-time. While a parent attaining a college degree may be beneficial for a child in the future, that does not mean that a parent can just leave his or her job to study, and expect that his or her child support obligation will be terminated. Leaving work to get a degree is a voluntary decision, and is only temporary. Doing so will not relieve a parent of his or her child support obligation.

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Yes, under certain circumstances, the parent paying child support may pay part of their support obligation directly to a child who is an adult yet unemancipated under New Jersey law. As child support lawyers, the attorneys at our law firm understand that special conditions are required in order for a judge of the Superior Court of New Jersey to approve such an arrangement.

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First, not only must the child be at least 18 years of age but a judge must also find that the child has a past that demonstrates that they are very mature and responsible young adults. Second, the money paid towards particular expenditures for the child, that must be approved beforehand, absolutely must go towards that expense. The child must also provide proof that these monies went towards the expense in question. Third, has the parent who pays child support been historically consistent with their child support payments in the past. Finally, a New Jersey Family Court would analyze how the direct payments may impact the parent receiving the child support as far as their ability to sustain a home for the child as well.

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As a child support lawyer, I have come across this issue in many cases as car insurance is expensive here in New Jersey, especially for young drivers. In fact, up until recently, the law was not clear as to whether a divorced (or single) parent would be deemed responsible to contribute to their children’s car insurance. Therefore, myself and the other attorney in a divorce or child support case would negotiate the issue, but at the end of the day the parents had to voluntarily agree to make automobile insurance payments on behalf of their unemancipated children. However, in light of a brand new case, the lawyers at my law firm shall now be advising folks that they are legally responsible and this amount can be included in New Jersey Child Support Guidelines.

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In Fichter v. Fichter, the Honorable Judge Jones of the Superior Court of Ocean County, Family Part, reviewed whether car insurance for a minor child should be included in the child support payment or if there should be a separate obligation for it. In 2013, the New Jersey Child Support Guidelines were modified by the State, to include new provisions having to do with the cost of car insurance. These new provisions, however, have only raised more questions about whether when a parent that is already paying child support, to a level sufficient to the guidelines, is also required to contribute to car insurance costs for an unemancipated newly licensed teenage child. There was no case law that answered this question when it presented itself in the Ocean County Family Part court, and the Honorable Judge Jones was left to tackle this issue of first impression. He held that Family Part courts, in their discretion, have the authority to increase or modify guideline-level child support on a fact specific basis, to cover for the extra cost of car insurance for a new teenage driver.

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A number of years ago I represented a great client in their divorce matter here in Middlesex County, New Brunswick, New Jersey. The amount of child support was the issue that the other attorney and I did not agree on. The other lawyer argued that his client’s income for calculation of child support should be limited to what his client was receiving in social security disability benefit payments. I argued that, while this income should certainly be part of the child support equation, the additional income that his client could be making without losing the social security benefits should be included. Ultimately, the other lawyer and I argued the issue in the judge’s chambers and I won! Recently, the New Jersey Appellate division affirmed that my position (and the judge who handled my case) was the correct one.

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On September 21, 2015, the New Jersey Appellate Division decided the case of Arede v. Arede. Paulo and Aurora married in September 2001, and separated shortly thereafter in September 2005. They had one child together. After the divorce complaint was filed in April 2006, the trial judge entered a pendente lite order. Pendente lite means “awaiting the litigation” or “pending the litigation”. In divorce, a pendente lite order is often used to provide for the support of the lower income spouse while the legal process moves ahead. Pendente lite support is paid while the divorce is still going on. This order required Paulo to pay $ 325 every week for child support, and $ 755 weekly for alimony. Paulo, however failed to make theses support payments during the course of the divorce proceedings. As a result, several enforcement and contempt orders were issued against him, as well as bench warrants for his arrest, which led to his ultimate incarceration.

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In breaking news, Chris Rock seeks joint physical custody of the two daughters that he has with his estranged wife. I suppose the fact that I am a child custody lawyer causes me to take note that in nearly every celebrity divorce involving the children, this is the “headline.” Now while I have only met Chris and Malaak Rock once (we sat next to each other once on a flight to Myrtle Beach), and I did take note that he appeared to be an attentive and loving father, I do not know these folks on a personal level. However, as a divorce lawyer, I understand that seeking joint physical custody may simply represent a loving father who wants as much time with his children as possible. In fact, upon filing for divorce Mr. Rock complained that he felt that his wife was purposefully keeping the kids away from him as a form of “punishment” for divorcing her. Hence, he legally seeks joint physical custody of their children.

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However, it did not escape me that, in the same article which came out right after the Rock’s announced their divorce, Mr. Rock also alleged that Malaak, “has the ability to work and contribute to her own support. Now while this just may be the divorce lawyer in me, it made me question if he was seeking joint physical custody simply to reduce the amount of child support he would ultimately have to pay to his ex-wife. Now, at this juncture you may be wondering what joint physical custody has to do with a child support figure. Following, please find why, under New Jersey law, joint physical custody versus one parent having primary custody can have a dramatic effect on the amount of child support one must pay. This not only for celebrities, but for middle class people as well. Let’s take a look.

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As a divorce and family law firm has handled countless child support matters over the, I know first hand that one of the most popular questions we are asked as New Jersey child support is, “What exactly is included in the New Jersey Child Support Guidelines?” This seems to be such a popular question for family law and divorce attorneys because, as many of you know, child support can be quite expensive and is a huge aspect of divorces involving children. While some expenses might seem obvious, such as food, clothing, and shelter, there are many more expenses included in the Guidelines that parents are responsible for. For example, the new case of Elrom v. Elrom explained that the cost of certain extracurricular activities is included in New Jersey’s Child Support Guidelines.

In the case the parties married in February 2005 and separated in September 2010. Two children were born of the marriage, one in 2008 and the other in 2010. The wife was a licensed attorney in New York and New Jersey. When she first got married, she worked in Newark earning $102,000 per year. Subsequently, she began working at a New York firm and earned $175,000 per year. However, at the start of 2008, the wife was laid off. She agreed to stay home and raise the children, but entertained the idea of working part-time. In 2009, she started working part-time, approximately 15 hours per week. Yet, when the parties separated, the wife started to work 26 hours per week. She finally found another full time job as an associate, earning $80,640 per year, but lost her job right before the trial.

On the other hand, the husband was a software engineer, technical writer, web developer, and entrepreneur. His annual salary tended to fluctuate since he worked for various companies such as MTV and HBO; however, he always earned a good living. For instance, while working for HBO he earned $193,375 per year. In addition, the husband owned a limited liability corporation called Elrom, which performed consulting services, sponsored an annual technology trade show, and participated in many start-up companies.

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Many divorced parents revisit their child support arrangements when a child enters college. If the parents have been divorced for many years, college expenses may be significantly different than originally estimated. Additionally, parents may have had a change in their personal financial circumstances.

Often clients ask me a variation of the question “now that my child is in college, do I still have to pay child support?” Recently, a New Jersey Appellate Division handled that very question.

The scenario: The Jacoby’s were divorced and had two children. When the first entered college, Mr. Jacoby filed to reduce his child support payment to his ex-wife on the grounds that the child was no longer living full-time in her house. The court granted the change using formulas that showed that in fact the household expenses were lower since the child was not home full-time.

When the second child went off to college, Mr. Jacoby once again filed to have support modified on the same grounds, however this time it was denied and he appealed. You can click here to see the full ruling from the appellate court here.

The court did agree that the launch of a child off to college is certainly grounds to revisit support, the court stated that it was not an automatic occurrence, and many factors, including those related to the children and both parents should be considered. Citing several cases, child support modifications must be done in the best interest of the children. The occurrence of going to college may not in fact have such a drastic effect on the amount of child support paid.

How this can apply to you:
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