Unpaid Child Support, What Are My Options?
When it comes to child support in New Jersey, the New Jersey Child Support Guidelines have helped to standardize what parents should expect to pay, and receive, in terms of child support for their children. These guidelines take into account a number of different factors, including the income and earning capacity of both parents, the needs of the children, and the amount of time each parent is expected to spend with the children based on the existing child custody and parenting time agreement.
In a perfect world, these carefully examined child support guidelines would always result in parents being expected to pay, and receive, realistic and affordable amounts of child support for their children. However, there are many reasons, some legitimate and some not, for parents to not be able to pay child support, or receive the support they are legally entitled to.
So what can be done if you can’t make your child support payments, or what can be done if you are not receiving the child support you are expecting from a co-parent? Let’s take a look.
Child Support Modification Lawyer Toms River, NJ
When child support is awarded, it is awarded based on the circumstances of both parents and their children at the time. Often, these circumstances can change, and when a court finds that they have changed permanently and substantially, they will seek to modify the current child support agreement to more accurately reflect the changed circumstances of the family in question.
So for example, if you lose your job and are unable to make child support payments, or have taken a new job at a reduced salary, such a change in your financial circumstance can warrant a child support modification. Or, maybe you have suffered from a serious illness or injury which has affected your earning ability.
However, until such time that a support modification is requested, you will be expected to pay the child support agreed to in your initial settlement. This means that if your circumstances have changed in a way which makes meeting your current child support obligations difficult or even impossible, you should speak with a Toms River child support modification lawyer as quickly as possible in order to begin the modification process, and avoid having to pay child support which you cannot afford.
Child Support Enforcement Attorney Point Pleasant, NJ
So while there are many circumstances (beyond even those listed in the section above) which would be a legimate cause for a parent being unable to meet their child support obligations, unfortunately not every parent who is not paying their child support is experiencing some substantial change in their financial circumstances.
When this is the case, the parent who is expecting to receive child support payments but is not may wish to file a motion to enforce their child support agreement (if child support is being paid/received through the Probation Division, such a motion will automatically be filed after 2 weeks of delinquent payment).
When presented with a request for child support enforcement, courts have a variety of powers and authorities at their disposal in order to ensure that payments are made, and any arrears are accounted for. These potential measures include things like:
- Automatic wage garnishment
- Suspension of driver’s license and other professional licenses of the offending party
- Placing liens on various assets
- Seizing funds directly from a bank account
- Reporting the offender to credit agencies, severely affecting their credit score and report
- Adding late-fees and potentially legal fees to the outstanding arrears amount
- Issuing a warrant for arrest calling for mandatory jail-time
- and more
Considering how seriously New Jersey takes the best interests of its children, and how closely related their best interests can be to the financial support they are expected to receive, it is no surprise that Family Courts are given such wide-ranging powers when it comes to the enforcement of a child support agreement.
Contact an Ocean County Child Support Attorney Today
If you are a parent who is unable to meet your child support obligations, or a parent not receiving agreed-upon child support payments, the Bronzino Law Firm is ready to provide you with the attentive, personal, and highly effective legal service that you need and deserve in such important and often stressful matters as child support can be.
With extensive experience helping clients across Ocean County and Monmouth County with all manner of child support matters, including child support modifications and child support enforcement, Attorney Peter Bronzino and our firm is ready to speak with you today in a free and confidential consultation regarding any kind of divorce or family law matter, including any issue you may have related to child support.