Understanding Financial Responsibilities Regardless of Visitation Rights in NJ

New Jersey Child Support: Obligation Even Without Visitation?When a couple divorces and has a child, a decision must be made regarding the number of visits and the length allocated to the non-custodial parent. For most couples, this is an emotionally charged issue and is frequently the most challenging obstacle divorcing parents face. The New Jersey Family Courts refer to visitation as parenting time to emphasize the importance of the child’s time with the non-custodial parent.  New Jersey laws insist on valuing what is best for the child over anything else.  That means maintaining a relationship with both parents and ensuring frequent contact with the non-custodial parent to provide a balanced and healthy relationship.

Ensuring Financial Stability Post-Separation

Both parents are responsible for their child’s financial support. The child’s standard of living should not be dramatically altered due to the parents’ separation.  Usually, the non-custodial parent pays child support to the custodial parent.

Child support is calculated using a formula for a shared income model. This provides the estimated amount needed to cover the child’s basic needs. The parents’ net income is combined and compared to the realistic costs of raising a child in the area where the family lives.  When filing for divorce, the parents submit a CIS (Case Information Statement) containing detailed financial information such as gross and net income, assets, debts, taxes, additional financial support, and properties.  The court will change the determined amount for special requirements such as healthcare costs, childcare, or any special needs the child may have. The parents’ earning capacity and work history are also analyzed.

A judge may deviate from the support guidelines for many reasons if a parent has high or meager income and job opportunities, school tuition, training, or advanced studies to augment a parent’s potential revenue, and financial obligations outside of the marriage such as elderly care, alimony, or child support from a previous relationship.

Influence of NJ Visitation and Custody Arrangements on Required Financial Contributions

Child support is not based solely on custody but is influenced by it to a degree.  The time a child spends with each parent determines whether the child support calculation is based on sole or shared parenting. If a child lives with one parent (the parent of primary residence) and the other parent has parenting time (visitation), the parent of primary residence (PPR) will more than likely spend more money on the child’s needs, so the parent of alternative residence (PAR) will pay support. Shared parenting occurs when the PAR has established special living accommodations for the child and parenting time is two or more weekly overnight visits. In this situation, the amount of support paid by the PAR would be less than if the child lived exclusively with the PPR.

The Child-Centric Approach to Visitation Rights

When it comes to visitation rights, it is the child who has the right to see their parents.  Parents are given the privilege of visitation and are expected to follow all court orders.  Family courts consistently make decisions based on the child’s best interests.  The factors considered include how well the parents cooperate when dealing with parenting issues, the child’s relationship with parents and siblings, and if one parent is unwilling to allow the child visitation with the non-custodial parent.  Any domestic violence issues, the stability of the parent’s living space, and the employment responsibilities of each parent also affect the judge’s decision. The child’s educational needs, the proximity of the parents, and, at times, the child’s preferences are evaluated as well.

The Non-Negotiable Nature of Child Support Payments

If the Court requires you to pay child support, no matter what the custody agreement is, you must pay it or face severe repercussions. Whether you have parenting time with your child or not, their financial support is still necessary, and as their parent, you are obligated to provide it.

Be Aware of the Implications of Unfulfilled Child Support Obligations

Non-Negotiable Nature of Child Support Payments in Manasquan NJThe financial consequences for not paying child support include garnishing wages, workers’ compensation, unemployment benefits, and tax refunds.   Arrearages can accumulate interest at an annual rate of as much as 12%. If more than $1,000 is owed, the debt can be placed on the parent’s credit report, affecting their ability to rent or buy a home, buy a car, or obtain further credit through loans and credit cards.

Failure to pay child support may result in a contempt of court charge, which can mean more fines and possible jail time. The New Jersey courts are tough on parents who refuse to meet their financial obligations to their children.

If the child support owed is over $2,500, the government can prevent the parent from obtaining a passport or revoke one they already have.  Those serving in the military can be discharged for non-payment.  If nothing has been paid for six months or more, the payor’s driver’s and professional, occupational, or recreational licenses can be suspended or revoked.

Contact a Child Support Lawyer Regarding Visitation Issues in Manasquan NJ

We all want what is best for our children and want to be treated fairly by the courts. Child custody and support problems can wreak havoc on your family when everyone is trying to adapt to the “new normal.”  However, it is important to keep your focus on how best to care for your children. At the Bronzino Law Firm, we understand how important it is for you to have a good relationship with your children as you provide for their needs and development.  We know that every case is unique, and we have the experience and dedication to provide exceptional representation in Mantoloking, Red Bank, Lavallette, Manchester, Little Egg Harbor, Bradley Beach, and throughout Ocean and Monmouth County.

If you have questions about your child custody or child support agreements and obligations, call us today at (732) 812-3102 or contact us online.