New Jersey Child Support Guidelines

New Jersey Child Support Guide

 Child Support Eligibility

Any individual can apply for all of the available child support service in NEW JERSEY. Any parent or person with custody of a child who needs help to establish a child support or medical support order or to collect support payments can apply for child support enforcement services.

People who have received assistance under the Temporary Assistance for Needy Families (TANF), Medicaid, and Federally assisted Foster Care programs are automatically referred for child support enforcement services. Although the majority of custodial parents are mothers, keep in mind that either the mother or father may have primary custody of the child. Either parent can get help to have a child support order reviewed at least every three years, or whenever there is a substantial change of circumstances, to ensure that the order remains fair. An unmarried father can apply for services to establish paternity — a legal relationship with his child.

Obligations of Child Support

Custodial Parents

Establishing Child Support Order.

The first step in establishing an order is to determine the amount of child support and to determine if health coverage is available.  This is determined by the New Jersey Support Guidelines, which have one purpose: to determine how much each parent should contribute for the care of the child.  Health care is to be ordered as accessible and at a reasonable cost based on health insurance available through both parents’ resources. The guidelines are based on an income-share formula of both parents and also take expenses into account, such as child care, medical insurance, and any factor the court deems best for the child.

Non-Custodial Parents

New Jersey’s Paternity Opportunity Program (POP) facilitates paternity establishment for babies born to unmarried parents. POP requires hospitals to provide unmarried parents with the opportunity to acknowledge paternity voluntarily.

Establishing Paternity.  If the parents were not married, legal paternity must be established.  Establishing paternity is the legal term for determining the father of the child. If the parents were married when the child was born, the husband is the legal father noted on the child’s birth certificate.  To create the same legal relationship between unmarried parents and their children, paternity must be established. It’s an important step in ensuring that both parents support their child, and is the first step in collecting child support.

Voluntary acknowledgement

When a father agrees that the child is his, he may sign a Certificate of Parentage (COP), which legally proves who the father of a child is. The first opportunity to sign the COP is at the hospital, right after a baby’s birth. Hospital staff can help you complete it. COPs can also be signed after leaving the hospital at a state or county registrar’s office, or at a local welfare office.

TEENAGE parents

Teen parents (also called minors) have the right to establish paternity on their own without the consent of a parent or legal guardian.If you are a parent under the age of 18, you are still responsible for the financial and  emotional well-being of your child. Whether you are the custodial parent or non-custodial parent, all the rights, responsibilities and laws explained on this website apply to you.

As a minor, your parents or legal guardians will work with you to take the actions necessary to make sure your child gets support.  However, teen parents have the right to establish paternity on their own without the consent of a parent or legal guardian.

Disputed Paternity – Genetic Testing

If a parent does not agree that the child is theirs, a genetic test must be done. This simple test can be done with a small sample of saliva. Either parent may request the test. Or, it can be required by the county office or ordered by the court. Both parents and the child must be tested.  If the test scores 95 percent or higher, the man is presumed to be the father. Once paternity is confirmed, the next step is establishing a child support order to determine the proper amount for your order.

Locating non-custodial parents

You have the right to get support for your child. However, you may not know where to find the other parent or your former partner may not acknowledge that he is the parent of your child. The New Jersey Child Support Program has many tools available to find the non-custodial parent. It is critical for you to provide as much detailed information as possible as this will speed up the search.

Payment of Child Support

Federal law requires child support payments to be automatically deducted from the non-custodial parent’s paycheck. Income withholding makes it easier for the custodial parent to receive timely, regular payments, and for the non-custodial parent to take care of this obligation. The employer deducts the child support amount and sends it to the New Jersey Family Support Payment Center (NJFSPC), which then provides payment to the custodial parent.  Income withholding may also be applied to unemployment benefits, Social Security benefits, disability payments, and other income the parent may receive. If the non-custodial parent is self-employed, the court order for child support sets out how the support will be paid.

If the custodial parent receives public assistance, the child support payment goes to the State that provided the assistance. The custodial parent may, in some circumstances, receive up to $100 of each month’s current child support payment in addition to their grant.

 Receiving Child Support

 The New Jersey Child Support Program offers two options for receiving support payments – direct deposit or the New Jersey Debit MasterCard® (NJ Debit Card) – that make receiving support payments faster, easier and safer. Direct deposit means that support payments are deposited directly into the custodial parent’s bank account (either checking or savings). To be eligible for direct deposit, you must receive your payments directly from the New Jersey Child Support Program.

 SAMPLE 2013 NJ WEEKLY
 CHILD SUPPORT GUIDELINES

WEEKLY

WAGE

ONE

CHILD

TWO

CHILDREN

200

52

73

200

52

73

250

65

91

300

77

109

350

90

127

400

103

145

450

115

161

500

126

177

550

138

193

600

150

209

 

Enforcement of Child Support Obligations

If you have an order for child support payments and the payor is not paying, or the payments are incomplete or late, a variety of enforcement services will be utilized for assistance.  When the Child Support Agency identifies these cases and takes action to get the support paid, it is called enforcement. Unpaid child support is debt owed and is called arrears. Enforcement includes collecting arrears or making sure health insurance coverage is in effect. New Jersey uses a computerized system to record and monitor the amount of child support due and paid. This system also acts automatically when two payments are missed or many of the following enforcement actions are needed.

 Modification of Child Support Amount

Anytime there is a substantial change of circumstances, a motion can be filed with the Family Division to modify the terms of the court order.  You may also request a review of the amount of your child support order at least once every 3 years from the date the order was entered or modified by the court.  Reviews are completed by your local County Welfare Agency Child Support Unit (CWA/CSU).

Military Service Modification of Child Support

Servicemembers Civil Relief Act (SCRA)

If you are called to active duty, you are protected under the Servicemembers Civil Relief Act (SCRA), formerly called the Soldiers’ and Sailors’ Civil Relief Act. The purpose of the SCRA is to allow United States military personnel to devote their full attention to the defense of our nation by temporarily suspending judicial and administrative civil proceedings that may impact their rights.  In some instances, your military service activation may make you eligible for a change in your child support order during your time of service. If you feel that you qualify, you may ask the court to modify your order by filing a motion to modify.

 New Jersey Financial Assistance

If you need financial help, either temporarily or in addition to child support, there is help in New Jersey!  Work First New Jersey (WFNJ) offers eligible families financial help and other support services – such as child care, Medicaid and NJ SNAP benefits. WFNJ is designed to give you temporary assistance by helping you prepare for work, get a good job and only use public assistance until you become self-sufficient.

New Jersey Child Support Resource Line:

1-877 NJ KIDS 1.

Note:  The foregoing information is provided as general child support law guidelines in New Jersey and should not be considered as legal advice specific to your case.  After reviewing the above material, you will be presented with the opportunity to submit more details specific to your case directly to
About The Children.

Submitted by Linda O’Marie, Paralegal

www.AboutTheChildren.org

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Posted in New Jersey Guidelines

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