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Do you understand your child support obligations?

New Jersey parents want to care for and support their children after a divorce, and child support is one way they can accomplish this. This type of financial support exists for the purpose of ensuring that children have what they need, as well as ensuring that both parents share the burden of financially supporting their kids. Typically, the non-custodial parent pays the custodial parent a certain amount in child support each month. 

If you will be the supporting parent, you probably want to know what you will have to pay. Divorce is expensive, and you may have concerns about how your child support obligations will affect your finances on a monthly basis. You have the right to know what you will pay and how courts determine an appropriate amount. Supporting parents may also need to know what to do if they can no longer meet their obligations each month. 

The determination of child support 

There are several factors that determine child support, but the primary determination is your income. It may be helpful to know that you and the other parent have the right to negotiate and settle on the matter of child support out of court. If this is not possible, the courts will look at your salary and any wages you earn. Other income that could affect your payments include:  

  • Disbursements from estates or inheritances 
  • Government benefits 
  • Pensions and retirement plans 
  • Gifts and prizes you won or received 
  • Annuities 

The supporting parent may also have to contribute toward college expenses, including room and board, tuition, and more. The specific details of any child support order differ on a case-by-case basis. 

What if you can’t pay? 

Your circumstances may continue to change long after your divorce is final. If you find yourself in a position in which you cannot make your child support payments, this does not make you an uncaring parent nor can it affect your right to see your kids. However, you may need to take legal steps to secure a temporary or permanent change to your child support order. 

It is helpful for you to know exactly what to expect from your child support obligations. As the supporting parent, your role is important, and knowing your rights and requirements will help make the post-divorce transition as smooth as possible for every member of the family.  

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