New Jersey law provides a great deal of flexibility for divorcing couples who choose to negotiate their own settlement terms. For example, each Denville child support lawyer at our firm has helped clients who decide to give up their share of the family home in exchange for a controlling interest in the family business. We also find solutions for parents whose schedules do not permit strict scheduling of child visitation.
When it comes to child support, however, the NJ Courts have little flexibility. Whether either parent has limited financial means — or if both parents can afford to provide financial support without assistance — the court insists on shared financial involvement.
The Three Primary Child Support Principles of NJ Courts
Whether they are determining the terms of divorce or addressing agreements for the care and support of children born out of wedlock, the NJ Court’s philosophy behind child support is that:
- Child support is the continuous duty of both parents
- Children are entitled to share in both parents’ income
- Children should not be economic victims of divorce or out-of-wedlock birth
Even though the courts cannot typically require both parents to equally share time with the children, they do hold both parents financially accountable for the children in accordance with guidelines that set child support responsibilities based on a long list of factors that range from income to percentage of parenting time.
Affordability is Not the Only Child Support Issue
The overall philosophy behind NJ child support laws is that children have a right to financial contributions from both parents. Clearly, parents of limited means might struggle to ensure that their children have what they absolutely need every day. Still, even when the parents are highly-compensated professionals who can individually afford to provide the children with more than their basic daily needs, this type of arrangement does not meet the best interests of the children.
Of course, this does not mean that every dollar of child support must be immediately spent on expensive toys, clothing, worldwide travel or anything else the children may want, rather than need. As long as the courts are satisfied that both parents continue to make required financial contributions to their children, the child support attorneys at Riordan Family Law can often help parents negotiate terms that provide for the children’s future support, such as making investments in college funding plans or setting up trusts.
Call us at (973) 537-1700, or use our convenient online contact form to learn how we can help create an agreement that provides children with a head start on their own futures.