Child Support

Each child is entitled to support if their parents are separated.


In a court of law, the wellbeing of children is put before anything else, especially during a divorce. All parents have a legal obligation to financially support their children, as child support is a guaranteed right. That said, figuring out child support can be far from easy. How is it calculated? Who pays it? And for how long? At Keith Family Law, we can help you answer these questions and more.

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How is child support calculated?

In New Jersey, child support is determined by the New Jersey Child Support Guidelines. This is based on income of both parents, alimony, child custody agreements, the number of overnights in the parenting plan, the number and age of children, the cost of the children’s share of health insurance, and other factors. The amount of child support ordered is non-negotiable unless there is a reason to deviate from the guidelines, which a court may do under extraordinary circumstances, although this is rare.

Although entertainment expenses are included in the child support calculation, there may be extracurricular expense that are not. These must be separately negotiated between parents and then be incorporated into the child support agreement.

Child support levels can be modified if the circumstances they were originally calculated at change. If either parent loses their job, an adjustment could be made based on their current income, earning history, education, disabilities, and efforts to find a new job. If care costs increase due to health concerns or disabilities, an adjustment to child support levels would be appropriate. These changes to child support are also calculated by the New Jersey Child Support Guidelines.

When does child support stop?

In New Jersey, child support continues until emancipation, which is presumed to occur at age 18, but this is fairly easily overcome. For example, children are not considered emancipated in New Jersey if they attend college full-time or are dependent on a parent due to illness or disability. Child support does cease at age 23, regardless of circumstances.

What can I do if child support payments are not being made?

As child support is the right of a child, it is legally required to be paid on a regular basis. There are a number of enforcement options available to remedy non-payments, including going to court to file an enforcement application. We would be happy to assist you in any way we can to make sure your child receives their payment.

One of the most popular methods of guaranteeing child support is wage garnishment. The employer of the parent paying the support is legally required to deduct child support from their pay. If this is not an option, that parent can be brought before the court where a number of remedies can be taken, including anything from the suspension of their driver’s license, to revocation of their passport, to incarceration.

Child support issues can be varied and complex, depending on the size and structure of the family. If you have questions regarding your specific child support issue, or any other areas involving divorce and family law, please feel free to call us for a consult. We will provide you with individualized legal counsel with one of our family lawyers. Ideally, you may find a reasonable way to resolve your child support issues privately through negotiation, mediation, or the Collaborative Law process. A collaboratively trained attorney can help you work together through collaborative practice to find solutions that will help your children adapt during this difficult time of change.

Keith Family Law is a full service family law practice in Westfield, New Jersey that serves clients from Union County, Essex County, Hudson County, Morris County, Hunterdon County, Somerset County, Middlesex County, Monmouth County, and Warren County.

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