Category Archives: Calculating Child Support

Appealing a Child Support Order in New Jersey

If you do not agree with a recent child support order, you have a few options. If it is within 20 days, you can file a motion to reconsider. This type of motion essentially says that the court made a mistake. As you an probably imagine, this is not an easy motion to make as judges don’t like to get told that there was an error. Thus, it is strongly advised that you retainer an attorney. Our NJ child support lawyers can help you vacate that child support order so that it is correct.

Child Support Order Appeal NJ

A motion to reconsider is not always the best option. Sometimes the better option, (or in cases where it is more than 20 days, the only option) is to file an appeal. An appeal for a child support order is filed with the Appellate Division which is a higher court. A panel of two to three judges will review the paperwork that you file and decide if the lower court (the trial judge) made a mistake. While a child support appeal is not usually that complicated and thus not that costly, the appeals process itself incredibly complicated even for some attorneys.  Thus appealing a child support order in New Jersey is not something you should probably try on your own.  Our NJ child support appeal lawyers have the experience necessary to help you get your appeal filed right away. If you don’t appeal your child support order, it may be wrong week after week. Pretty soon, it will cost you more to pay the wrong amount than it would have been to just hire a lawyer and fix.

Initial consultations with our New Jersey child support appeal attorneys are free, so call us today to discuss your case.

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Paying Child Support Directly in New Jersey

Paying child support directly to child in New Jersey

A very common problem in New Jersey is when a person pays child support but the child does not really see any of the money. In many situations, there is not much you can do about it. However, a recent case has indicated that for adult children, the child support payments can made directly to them. To accomplish this, a motion must be filed with the court. This isn’t the easiest motion to file but the case law does allow for it.

To win this motion, it helps to have a knowledgeable NJ child support lawyer. You also need to have some argument and analysis behind the motion, Simply asking for the child support to be paid to your adult child is probably not going to cut it. Instead, you will need to explain why this is necessary. Our New Jersey child support attorneys file hard hitting motions so we will throw everything we have to make sure that your child support gets paid directly to your child. This way, you know that the child support is not being used as a form of alimony.

Child Support Hearing Officers in New Jersey

In New Jersey, child support cases are often handled by hearing officers. A hearing officer is not a judge. They are there to lessen the burden on the judges. Some of them are good but we have seen some that just don’t get it right. The key thing to know is that they should not bully you around and you don’t have to listen to them. Their decision is a recommendation and nothing else. You have the right to see a judge about your child support case.

If you have already been in front of a New Jersey child support hearing officer and you are not happy with their decision it is important to call an attorney right away to discuss your options. Our NJ child support lawyers can file a motion to vacate the hearing officer’s order and get you in front of a judge so that your child support matter can be addressed properly.

To discuss your case with one of our tough, smart NJ child support lawyers, call us today at 1-855-9-JEFLAW. Our initial consultations are free.

Cost of Living Adjustment for NJ Child Support

Cost of Living Adjustment for NJ Child Support

When child support is paid through probation in New Jersey, an automatic Cost of Living Adjustment, or COLA increase will apply. This applies to all child support order paid through probation and occurs every two years. Right around that time period, probation will send both parties a notice of the increase. The percentage used is based upon Consumer Price Index. When the notice is received, the party paying child support has 30 days to contest the increase with Probation.

Our NJ child support lawyers can help you contest this COLA increase. These increase are challenged on the following grounds: (1) your income has not increased at a percentage at least equal to that percentage OR (2) the child support order already provides for an alternate method of periodic COLA adjustments. After considering your submission, the Probation department will make a recommendation and notify the parties of the recommendation. If either party is dissatisfied with their determination, they can request a hearing. Just like any other hearing officer’s decision, that decision can be appealed to the judge.

In addition to objecting to the COLA increase, now is a good time to have your entire child support order reviewed. If you are facing a child support COLA increase in New Jersey, call our team at 1-855-9-JEFLAW for tough, smart attorneys today to see how we can help you avoid the increase and reduce your child support obligation.

Calculating Child Support in New Jersey

How is child support calculated in New Jersey?

 

Finding the New Jersey Child Support Guidelines Online

 

Calculating child support for teenagers in New Jersey

 

The impact of alimony on a New Jersey child support award

 

Calculating child support for high income earners in New Jersey

 

Including daycare expenses into the child support guidelines

 

Health care expenses for children and child support in New Jersey

 

Having the other parent share in the cost of the children’s health insurance in New Jersey

 

The impact of social security benefits on a New Jersey child support obligation

 

Imputing income to the underemployed parent in New Jersey

 

The impact of visitation on New Jersey child support calculations

 

Child support in New Jersey when there is a split parenting arrangement

Split Parenting Child Support Arrangement NJ

Split parenting is the rare, but not unheard of, situation where each parent has custody of at least once child that they have in common. Please note that this is only when they are the parents of both children; if one parent has a child from another relationship, that is not split parenting. Often times, both parents will waive child support from the other. However, there will be occasions when one parent will still demand child support. In that case, there will be two separate child support calculations done using the sole parenting work sheet; one for each parent.

The two numbers will be subtracted from each other and that figure will be the child support award. Obviously, this number will often be fairly insignificant thus making the cost of litigation prohibitive. However, if one parent has income that far exceeds the other, then it may well be worth it. Before filing anything, speak to a New Jersey Child Support Lawyer first.

 

The Impact of Visitation on New Jersey Child Support Calculations

Child support does not depend upon visitation. In fact, our child support lawyers have had clients that have never even met the child that they are supporting. However, visitation or “parenting time” does have an impact on child support. The Child Support Guidelines provide that visitation is a level of parental participation in child-rearing that is less than the substantial equivalent of two or more overnights with the child each week (approximately 28% of overnights excluding vacations and holidays). Oddly enough, overnight means the majority of a 24-hour day (i.e. more than 12 hours) so thus, it does not really require that the child sleep over. Appendix IX-A to R. 5:6A. § 14(b)(1) also defines “overnight” as “the majority of a 24-hour day (i.e. more than 12 hours).” Id.

 

This is important for two reasons. First, each overnight reduces the the amount of child support that the non-custodial parent has to pay. This is because the parent exercising the parenting time is the one that incurs at least some of the costs in parenting the child. If the child support did not account for this, the custodial parent would be getting paid the full amount even when the child was not with him/her. As a result, the other parent would be paying to parent the child at two places at once.

 

The other reason this is important is because if there are enough overnights, the court will use a different worksheet for the child support guidelines. The shared parenting worksheet may be used when (1) A parenting plan that specifies parenting times and responsibilities must be filed with or ordered by the court or (2) The PAR [Parent of Alternate Residence] has or is expected to have the child for the substantial equivalent of two or more overnights per week over a year or more (at least 28% of the time) and the PAR can show that separate living accommodations for the child are provided during such times. The shared parenting worksheet will drastically reduce the amount of child support paid to the custodial parent. Despite the the above, the decision to use the shared parenting time worksheet is left to the sole discretion of the court which makes it tough to appeal.

 

Imputing Income to the Underemployed Parent in New Jersey

A parent’s actual income is not used as the basis for determining child support in New Jersey. Instead, the court will look at the parent’s maximum earning potential. To do this it will impute income to that parent. Thus, while a court cannot force someone to get a full time job, it can at least use such numbers to calculate child support.

 

The easiest scenario to handle this is when a party is working part time. In that case, the court will simply calculate what the parent would make if they worked a 40 hour work week. The more difficult scenario is when the parent is working at a job that does not make full use of their skills, training and experience. A lot will depend on why the parent is not working to their potential. There is a big difference between changing careers before a child support obligation is set and doing it afterward. If you change careers after the child support obligation is set, it will appear as if you were attempting to reduce your child support by getting a lower paying job. Thus, you will have an uphill battle to prove that you should not be imputed to a higher income.

 

There are, of course, a whole host of issues that deal with an imputation of income and each case will rise and fall on its own set of facts. Some cases are easier in that statistics from various websites can be used to determine the average income for each career. Other cases may require a vocational assessment to determine how much the parent is capable of earning given their skill set, experience and education.

 

 

The Impact of Social Security Benefits on New Jersey Child Support

There are two types of social security benefits: SSD and SSI. Another way to look at government benefits is whether or not they are means-tested. Social security disability is income paid to a person because they are disabled for one reason or another. It is not a means tested benefit so thus, it will be treated like any other stream of income. A means-tested benefit is one where the eligibility is based upon the resources or income of the recipient. Thus, income from SSI, TANF, food stamps and rent subsidies will not be included for child support purposes. If this is the person’s only means of income, there will likely be no child support obligation. Likewise, the court cannot impute income to this parent.

SSD & SSI Benefits Impact on Child Support

On the other hand, any SSD payments received will be used in calculating child support. This includes both income that the parent receives along with any income that the children receive. If you have any questions, feel free to reach out to our team of child support lawyers in New Jersey!

 

Health Care Expenses & Child Support in New Jersey

In New Jersey, child support includes a number of expenses. Among them is the first $250 of unreimbursed medical expenses per child, per year. If the custodial parent incurs more than $250 of such expenses in a year, then the balance would be split by the parties pursuant to their incomes. This figure is easily determined by looking at the child support guidelines worksheet. What seems like a simple, straight forward process is often the source of much litigation in New Jersey which could have easily been avoided.

One way to avoid litigation is to account for recurring and predictable expenses in the child support guidelines. Of course, this is not possible for most children but when it is, it can be helpful to cut down on litigation. Thus, if a child has $1000 in unreimbursed medical expenses per year, the amount in excess of $250 (in this case $750) can be added to the guidelines to ensure that the payments are made in a timely fashion.

Child Support Lawyers Who Care

The other way to avoid litigation is to request reimbursement from the other parent in a timely manner. Our child support lawyers have seen many cases where the custodial parent will save up expenses and then file a motion for reimbursement, often as a cross motion. The theory appears to be that since the other parent is forcing them into court on one issue, they may as well try to get as much money back as possible. This is just bad all the way around. Its not fair to the other parent and you may not get a total reimbursement. While laches is not a good defense to child support issues, it has been successful in some case. Besides laches, the parent seeking reimbursement for old expenses may run into serious proof issues as records become hard to obtain.

The best option is to prove to the other parent that the $250 has been exceeded as soon as possible. Then, when a bill comes, pay it and submit it to the other side right away. If the parties cannot resolve this themselves, then the court should be asked for a specific schedule as to how the parent seeking the reimbursement needs to notify the other parent and when he/she has to make the reimbursement.

If you need more information or want a free consultation, call our offices today, we’re available 24/7.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Day Care Expenses & Child Support Guidelines

Day care expenses can be factored into the child support guidelines. However, there are a number of issues that should be considered here. The first is whether to include them at all into the guidelines or if they should be outside of the guidelines. Much will depend on how long these expenses will last. If they will last a few months, it may not make any sense to have to come back to court so soon to recalculate the child support. If they are outside of the guidelines, the parents can just split the cost according to the percentages listed in the guidelines. When the day care stops, the child support will remain the same thus eliminating the need to return to court.

Assuming the client wants the day care expenses added to the guidelines, it has to be proved that this is related to work or a search for work. That is, net work related day care expenses cannot be day care expenses that allow the parent to sit home and escape parental responsibility. At the same time, the parent’s work needs to pay off. Day care can be very expensive and if the custodial parent’s minimum wage job pays about the same per week as day care, then an argument can be made that he/she should just stay home.

Child Support & Daycare Expenses

The term net work related day care is used because it is assumed that the parents will pay for any and all tax credits that are available. Thus, if this offsets the total cost, the net numbers should be used, not the gross. Another factor to be considered here is the cost of the daycare. Daycare and summer camps (which fall into the same category) are expensive as it is but some parents choose to enroll their children in very high end day care centers. The cost of same should be on par with the parent’s income. Finally, proof of all expenses should be provided to the other parent and the court. Our child support lawyers have seen too many people come into court asking for day care expenses without having any evidence as to what those expenses are! You need to show proof to everyone involved before a court can grant your request.

 

Calculating Child Support for High Income Earners in New Jersey

The New Jersey child support guidelines only go up to a certain combined income level. Thus, it doesn’t matter which parent earns what income; if the combination of both incomes exceeds the child support guidelines levels, than the child support guidelines cannot be used to determine the entire child support award. In these case, the child support guidelines are ran to the maximum to determine the absolute minimum child support award. Then, using a number of factors, the court will determine how much to supplement that number.

Without clear cut guidelines, each court is free to come up with its own number. Our lawyers have significant experience with these cases and we have seen children effectively become the breadwinners in a sense since their child support income is greater than that of the custodial parent. While one case clearly indicates that children should not receive three ponies, it is tough imagine why the cost of raising a child should far exceed the custodial parent’s income.

Regardless of which side you are on, documentation and zealous advocacy will help shape the judge’s opinion in these cases. You cannot just say that you want a certain amount of money, it has to be demonstrated. Having a specific need for the money makes it easier for a judge to award it as opposed to an arbitrary request. At the same time, child support is not alimony and thus, the judge will have to walk a fine line in between the two when setting the award.

Call us today for a free consultation or to learn more about how child support is calculated for high income earners in New Jersey.

 

Alimony & Its Effect on Child Support

Alimony and child support are separate and mostly unrelated concepts in New Jersey. However, alimony will have a big impact on the child support calculations. Alimony paid by the obligor reduces his/her net income. Likewise, alimony received by the obligee increases his/her net income. Since child support is calculated using the parents’ net income, the amount of child support paid will be reduced significantly (depending on the amount of alimony paid of course).

Alimony & Child Support in NJ

Our child support lawyers find that this analysis is very helpful to our clients when trying to deal with the net money paid out to the other parent. Consider this hypothetical, without an alimony obligation, the child support obligation is $100. However, with a $100 alimony obligation, the new child support obligation may be only $80. Thus, that $100 in alimony is only $80 extra to the client. Of course, alimony is tax deductible to the same client thus possibly reducing the real alimony obligation to more like $65 once the tax impact is factored in. This analysis can help clients who are reluctant to pay alimony see that they are not fighting over as much as they thought they were.

 

Calculating Teenager Child Support in New Jersey

The New Jersey child support guidelines are the same regardless of how old the child is despite the fact that it is more expensive to raise a teenager than it is to raise a younger child. If the custodial parent is receiving child support when the child is at an early age, the child support aware will average itself out over the course of time. That is, the child support received for the younger child is too much while the child support for the teenager is too little.

Teenager Child Support NJ

For custodial parents that did not go to court until the child was a teenager, they do not get the benefit of this averaging. Thus, there is a 14.6% increase in child support when calculating initial child support awards for teenagers. Our New Jersey child support lawyers have found that this is often over looked by many other lawyers and even some judges. As a result, if you are receiving child support, you are losing out on a lot of money if the teenager adjustment was not factored in to your case.

Finding the New Jersey Child Support Guidelines Online

I love when a prospective client tells me that they looked up the child support guidelines online and that they know how much to pay. Lawyers pay a lot of money to use the child support guidelines and it would be pointless to do so if they can just use it for free like everyone else! The reason lawyers pay for the child support guidelines software is because they want to use the real, accurate guidelines. The guidelines change quite often based upon taxes and other issues. The number that you get off of on online calculator is likely way off. Thus, it is probably a huge waste of time to even take the time to use these online calculators as it may not even give you a rough idea as to what your child support may be. Instead, leave it to your attorney to tell you what your child support figure will be.

 

How is Child Support Calculated in New Jersey?

In New Jersey, child support is calculated using the New Jersey Child Support Guidelines. These guidelines are a formula that takes into account a number of factors. Unless both parties agree not to use the guidelines, they will be used in almost every single case unless it is a high income case or you can show good cause not to use them. While there are a number of factors that go into the guidelines, the primary figures include the gross income of both parties, alimony paid or received by both parties, union dues and mandatory pension payments by either party, parenting time and health care costs for the child.

These figures along with others are all put into the program. The computer will then calculate the weekly child support obligation. However, the program just doesn’t spit out a number, it includes the entire worksheet so that you can see how exactly the program arrived at the number. In my experience, most people do not have this worksheet and once I review same, I can see how the number was miscalculated due to a number of errors. Since most child support obligations cannot be retroactively modified (except for emancipation cases), it is important to get the child support done the right way the first time. One wrong move and you could wind up paying $50 extra per week or $2,600 per year. As you can see, simple mistakes really add up!

The guidelines worksheet is also helpful for determining when and if your child support should be modified. Your lawyer can review your old worksheet with you to determine if any of the numbers have changed significantly and if so, how it would impact your obligation now.