03. Child Support
Child Support Establishment, Modification and Termination
Having kids is expensive! When your relationship ends, naturally your thoughts turn to questions such as: "How much money will I get in child support?" or "How much am I going to have to pay?" This is another situation where talking to friends, family or the mailman isn't in your best interests.
Saving this conversation for your legal team at Smedley Law Group will reduce your anxiety (we've all heard horror stories of paying a small mint or receiving a pittance) and provide you with some clarity regarding your unique financial situation. We'll advise you as to what is and isn't covered by the New Jersey Child Support Guidelines as well as discuss non-traditional alternatives that may work for you and your family.
One thing you need to know is that in most cases, you can only establish or modify a child support obligation from the time you ask for it, so waiting to talk to us about your situation can cost you big time. Therefore, if your circumstances change from what they were at the time your original obligation was entered, you need to speak with our team so we can guide you in the right direction so you and your family are protected.
Income change? Parenting time change or your Order not being followed? Cost of insuring the kids change? One of your children starts attending college or may be emancipated? These are all situations that may warrant a review of your child support obligation. That's why scheduling a consultation with Smedley Law Group is critical to ensuring you can take the appropriate steps for you and your children.
"My child turned 18, fantastic! That means I can stop paying child support now, right?" Wrong. Unlike our neighbor states of Pennsylvania and Delaware, New Jersey is different. While there's a presumption in New Jersey that a child is emancipated upon turning 18 years old, that presumption is rebuttable by demonstrating that the child in question hasn't moved beyond the sphere of influence of his or her parents. We recommend that when your child is in his or her senior year in high school you have a "check-up" on your current situation so we can properly analyze your situation, determine what course of action is appropriate given your child's status at that time and plan for the future accordingly.
No one likes surprises, and meeting with us can provide you with the clarity you need regarding your current situation, determine what problems need to be addressed in the immediate future, allowing you time to plan for your family's future.
Everyone knows college is expensive. While intact families can decide that they aren't financially willing or able to put their children through college, parents at the head of non-intact families aren't allowed that luxury and can be compelled to contribute to the cost of their child's college education, even over their own objection.
While there are restrictions on the obligation, which are extremely fact-specific, the general rule is that a judge can order these non-intact families to contribute to their children's college education. Additionally, it's very common for these agreements to be codified in settlement agreements executed during the course of a divorce.
Smedley Law Group is extremely well versed in this particular area of the law, and after we review your situation, we can provide the guidance necessary so you can properly plan for the future:
If you're no longer with your child's other parent, either due to divorce or termination of the relationship in cases where the parties were never married, it's important that you understand your rights, obligations and duties as your child approaches the end of high school.
If you're the primary custodial parent and are seeking the contribution from your co-parent, there are specific steps you need to take so as not to negatively impact that request for payment.
If you're the parent being requested to contribute, it's extremely important that you obtain all the information necessary regarding this request.
Delaying this conversation could make the process more complicated and costly going forward, no matter which side of the conversation you're on.
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Our powerhouse team of attorneys have chosen to devote their entire practice to family law, ensuring you have a support system of strong litigators who’ll work on your behalf in your unique situation. We listen and talk with you to determine your goals and desired outcomes, and then work with you to achieve them through our advocacy.