In New Jersey, child support is most often determined pursuant to the New Jersey “Child Support Guidelines.” The guidelines were established incorporating certain economic data and trends of intact families to assist the court in the determination of fair and adequate child support awards.
There are many variables that factor into the child support calculation, including:
Child support is reviewable and modifiable by either party, at any time, based on a showing of a permanent change of circumstances. There are also situations in which the child support calculation is not governed by the guidelines, for example, in higher income cases.
In these cases, a thorough and detailed analysis is required, and an experienced Denville child support lawyer can advise clients as to an appropriate range for support. Contact our team at Riordan Family Law at (973) 577-4118 to learn more.
A parent’s child support obligation ends upon the child’s emancipation; however, emancipation is not always clear. In New Jersey, while the law presumes emancipation upon reaching the age of majority (18 years old), the presumption of emancipation is regularly overcome because the child continues to attend high school or is currently attending college full-time.
A child who is enrolled full-time in an undergraduate college program is not considered emancipated and, thus, the child support obligation will continue until the child’s college graduation. However, the child’s attendance at college may provide a basis to modify child support. Emancipation can also trigger a retroactive modification of child support.
New Jersey courts have supported the obligation of both parents to contribute to their children’s college education in certain cases. Case law has identified several factors that courts will consider upon determining each parent’s financial obligation toward college costs, if any.
The exclusion of a parent from the college decision making process may be a basis to limit the excluded parent’s financial contribution. Our child support lawyers recommend that any application either seeking or objecting to college contribution should be filed well in advance of the college costs that are to be incurred, if possible.
The college contribution issue inevitably requires discovery and extensive negotiation or, possibly, a trial if the matter cannot be resolved.
A parent is well-advised to seek the counsel of an experienced child support attorney to address these matters. At Riordan Family Law, our family lawyers have handled many college contribution and child support cases in Denville and Morris County, and we are abundantly aware of the issues involved and discovery needed to bring the case to a conclusion.