The Basics of Child Support Payments: Who pays? How? Can I Modify? (Part 1)

Brick Child Support Lawyers Cover the Basics

Serving our Family Law clients in Brick, Toms River, Point Pleasant, Spring Lake, Jackson, and Freehold

It is a misconception that the conclusion of a divorce proceeding, once a divorce decree is issued, all aspects of the relationship are over and future interaction is unnecessary. Though it may mean the ending of a romantic relationship, some level of interaction will likely continue for years to come in the form of alimony or spousal support and, in many cases even more intimately as it relates to communication about parenting time, co-parenting efforts, and the financial considerations related to child support.

Ideally, a divorce represents a mutual agreement on terms that are deemed satisfactory by both parties, which provides an opportunity to create an improved, more positive, happy, and healthy future once the process is complete. Ex’s, especially those with children, should expect to interact on some level and must be prepared for discussion, debate, and potential litigation as it relates to what exactly child support payments can be used for and the potential need to file for child support modifications.

Qualified Family Lawyers Protecting the Rights of You and Your Children

It can be and often is very difficult to come to an agreement with a spouse and co-parent while navigating through the divorce process, especially over a topic that brings with it a high level of emotion and financial requirements. Every case and every situation is different. We recognize that and that´s why we offer a client-centered approach that hinges on personalized attention to help you build a road-map for a better future for you and your children.

Our Family Lawyers are dedicated to providing quality counsel, in order to educate you to help encourage the best possible outcome. We handle divorce cases and child support modifications for clients in Brick, Toms River, Point Pleasant, Wall, Jackson, and across Monmouth and Ocean Counties. To speak with us today about a free and confidential consultation, please contact us  at (732) 812-3102 or feel free to fill out a contact form on our website and we will be in touch to schedule a time for you to come in to one of our offices conveniently located in Brick and Sea Girt, NJ.

Which Parent Pays Child Support?

Child support is the financial support that is provided by a parent who does not have full custody of his or her child. The noncustodial parent can enter into a child support agreement voluntarily, by court order, or by an administrative agency. Child support is exactly what the term implies, it is for the support and care of the child. The noncustodial parent must pay a portion of the costs and expenses related to raising the child during separation, the divorce proceedings, and until the child is 18 and not in college or potentially after they earn their college degree.

What Expenses are Included in New Jersey Child Support Payments?

Many people view child support as a one-way street, where one spouse pays another to support the child. The truth is that child support would be better described as a two-way street, where financials of both parties are taken into consideration in conjunction with the breakdown of custody and parenting time, and out of that monetary pool there is an equation in place that will determine who pays who and how much. Under the Guidelines, the child support award covers the following expenses:

  • Fixed costs, including shelter and shelter-related costs
  • Variable costs, including the cost of transportation and food for the child
  • Controlled costs, such as clothing, personal care, entertainment, and other miscellaneous expenses

Generally, extracurricular activities, uninsured medical expenses, and educational expenses are not included in the basic child support amount unless it is specifically noted in the settlement agreement. Child support usually covers food, clothing, and shelter; and the remaining terms and expenses must be included in the agreement or they will need to be covered by the parent who makes a purchase, signs the child up, and/or wants the child to get involved in a specific activity.

Post Divorce Modification to Increase or Reduce Child Support Payments

In life circumstances change. People’s financial situations change. Also, the unexpected or unpredictable needs of a child as they grow up can change as well. It is impossible to get the divorce agreement perfect for an unlimited amount of time, especially as it relates to raising a child in a healthy and stable environment.

A child support modification is a change to an existing child support order. The modification can either increase or decrease child support. Because child support orders are often in effect for years, it’s not unusual for them to be modified.

Common Reasons for Modified Court Orders

  • Most of the reasons for a modified child support involve a change in income. This can include:
  • Cost of Living Increase or Decrease
  • Increase or Decrease in Income
  • Parent, Child has Suffered Serious Illness, Disability after Original Child Support Order
  • Federal Tax Laws have changed
  • Children’s needs change
  • When a child decides to be emancipated
  • When obligator loses job
  • Less or more time with child or children

How to File for a Child Support Modification

  1. You and your co-parent agree to the change. The Parents agree to the modification and the amount. In this case the parents would put the agreement into a court order, present it to the judge, and once the modification is signed by the judge the court order becomes effective.
  2. You do not agree, do not communicate, and/or your ex intends to contest your claim. One parent must file a petition (recommended with the assistance of a qualified family law attorney). If the judge determines grounds for modification, there will be a hearing where all financial information for both parties is reviewed and a determination is made.

In the same regard, the modification process should promote a stable environment aimed to avoid volatility, which can ultimately have negative impact on the child or children in your family.

Contact a Child Support Lawyer Today to Protect Your Rights

Whether you are going through the initial divorce process or circumstances have changes and you need to file for a change in the child support and/or child custody agreement, the Bronzino Law Firm is here to help. We work with our clients to outline and eventually construct a process aimed at delivering a mutually beneficial and improved quality of life. We will not take our eye off of the ultimate goal, to create an optimal environment for your children to grow with the involvement of both parents in financially stable and secure homes.

To speak with to us today in a free and confidential consultation, please contact us online or through our Brick, NJ offices at (732) 812-3102. If you pass by our office at 44 Princeton Avenue Brick, NJ 08724, we´d love to shake hands, introduce ourselves, and get a better understanding of your situation.