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Child Support and 50/50 Joint Custody Arrangements

Family Law Burlington Image - Law Offices of Daniel K. NewmanHousehold Statistics in New Jersey

Statistics show that back in 1960, about half of all households comprised of a married couple and their children. Now, that number has dropped to about 22 percent in New Jersey.

These statistics highlight the increase in both single-parent households and joint custody arrangements. Issues inevitably arise when children are involved in a divorce. One of these big questions is how both parties will financially support their children even after separating.

When parents agree to a joint custody arrangement, does either party pay child support? Keep reading to find out.

What Exactly is Joint Custody?

There are two types of custody: physical and legal. Legal custody is the ability to make parental decisions about the child’s life, whereas physical custody determines who the child will primarily reside with. Joint legal custody doesn’t impact child support arrangements, but joint physical custody does.

How will Child Support be Determined in Joint Custody Cases?

Parents who have joint physical custody usually split the child’s time between households. Courts will reduce the amount of child support obligation based on the number of overnight stays the child has with that parent.

It’s tedious and unreasonable to require parents to track and record each hour they spend with their children. When courts attempt to calculate how many overnights each parent has with the youngsters, their calculations may not be exact. In some situations, your actual parenting time won’t be exact.

When both parents spend an estimated equal time with their children, the courts compare both parent’s incomes. If one parent makes significantly more than the other, then they may still be obligated to pay some support. When both parent’s incomes are equal, what happens next?

Recent Ruling

In May of 2016, the Superior Court of New Jersey heard a similar case where both parents truly shared 50/50 parenting time. Both parties also had equal annual incomes. The judge ultimately decided that deviating from the standard New Jersey Child Support Guidelines was warranted in that case because of the apparent fairness in their arrangement. He ultimately denied the requests for child support, citing the fact that the parents had an equitable arrangement without the added support. Both parents appealed the decision and continued to request financial support from the other. The Appellate Division upheld the lower court’s decision in denying both parent’s request for support.

Contact a Voorhees Township Family Law Attorney for a Consultation About Child Support and Joint Custody in New Jersey Today

If you are thinking about filing for divorce, or if you have already started the divorce process and are dealing with another matter such as child custody, child support, or division of assets, you need to speak with a qualified attorney. The New Jersey family law attorneys at the Law Office of Daniel K. Newman represent clients throughout the state, including Camden, Burlington, Gloucester, Cumberland, and Salem counties. We understand how challenging this time can be for you, which is why we will fight hard to protect your interests, and the interests of your loved ones, throughout the legal process. Call us at 856-309-9007 or fill out our confidential contact form to schedule a consultation. We have an office conveniently located at 1202 Laurel Oak Rd #207, Voorhees Township, NJ 08043.

The articles on this blog are for informative purposes only and are no substitute for legal advice or an attorney-client relationship. If you are seeking legal advice, please contact our law firm directly.

What Should I Do If My Ex-Spouse Won’t Pay Alimony?

alimony lawyer medford njAlimony for Divorced Couples in New Jersey

Defined simply, alimony is a court-ordered allowance that one of the newly-divorced spouse pays to the other newly-divorced spouse usually for a specified period of time. The purpose of alimony is to provide newly-divorced spouses with some sense of financial equity so that the lowering-earning spouse can support him or herself after the divorce and maintain a reasonably similar lifestyle to that enjoyed during the marriage.

Consequently, New Jersey courts have broad discretion in determining whether or not to award alimony to a party in a divorce action. Typically, New Jersey courts only award alimony if there is a substantial financial disparity between the spouses and this disparity existed during the marriage. If a New Jersey court awards you alimony in your divorce action and your ex-spouse fails to make alimony payments, it is important to know what your legal options are to ensure that you receive the alimony payments to which you are entitled.

File a Post-judgment Motion to Enforce Alimony Payments

If your ex-spouse is not paying you court-ordered alimony payments, you may file a motion in aid of litigant’s rights against your ex-spouse as a means to compel him or her to make the payments. According to New Jersey law, such motion can be filed in cases where one of the parties is willfully disobeying the terms of a court order. These types of motions may only be granted, however, if the moving party proves that the alleged disobedient party is willfully violating the terms of a court order. When an ex- spouse is failing to make court-ordered alimony payments to the moving ex-spouse, the moving ex-spouse may prove his or her motion by providing the court with an affidavit or certification with exhibits, such as bank statements that can be used to show when the payor ex-spouse stopped making payments as well as with oral or written statements made by the payor ex-spouse that indicate he or she will no longer make the court-ordered payments.

If the moving party successfully proves that the payor ex-spouse is willfully violating the court order by failing to make alimony payments, the court may order the payor ex-spouse to pay the amount currently due and owing to the moving party and may also impose a fine on the payor ex-spouse. In certain cases, the court may even incarcerate the payor ex-spouse for willfully violating a court order to make alimony payments.

Income Withholding

In New Jersey, most awards of alimony include provisions allowing the payor ex-spouse’s employer to withhold a certain portion of the payor’s income and use this withholding to make alimony payments to the payee ex-spouse. However, sometimes court orders fail to contain provisions concerning income withholding. If your ex-spouse is failing to make the court-ordered alimony payments to you and there is no provision in the current alimony order allowing the payor’s employer to withhold the payments from the payor’s income, the payee ex-spouse can request that the court modify the alimony order to include income withholding provisions. If a court grants this modification, the employer of the payor will be the one furnishing you with the payments instead of the payor. Consequently, as long as the payor ex-spouse is employed, you will receive your alimony payments.

Writ of Execution

Similar to obtaining a modification of the alimony order to include income withholding provisions, payee ex-spouses may also try to obtain a writ of execution against the payor ex-spouse if he or she is not receiving the court-ordered payments. When a New Jersey court grants the payee ex-spouse this writ, the court may award the payee ex-spouse a portion of the payor ex-spouse’s bank account or other assets in order to satisfy the past due alimony payments.

Contact a Voorhees Family Law Attorney for a Consultation About Divorce in New Jersey Today

If you are thinking about filing for divorce, or if you have already started the divorce process and are dealing with another matter such as child custody, child support, or division of assets, you need to speak with a qualified attorney. The New Jersey family law attorneys at The Law Offices of Daniel K. Newman represent clients throughout the state, including Voorhees, Cherry Hill, Haddonfield and Collingswood. We understand how challenging this time can be for you, which is why we will fight hard to protect your interests, and the interests of your loved ones, throughout the legal process. Call us at (856) 309-9007 or fill out our confidential contact form to schedule a consultation. We have an office conveniently located at 1202 Laurel Oak Rd #207 Voorhees Township, NJ 08043.

The articles on this blog are for informative purposes only and are no substitute for legal advice or an attorney-client relationship. If you are seeking legal advice, please contact our law firm directly.

Visitation Rights of Grandparents in New Jersey

grandparents rights lawyer new jerseyFollowing divorce or death, families struggle with the sadness and change associated with the event. When children are involved, the situation can become even more challenging, especially where the grandparents want to continue being in the lives of those children.

Who Makes Decisions About Visitation?

Generally speaking, a child’s parent or parents have the authority to determine who their child visits and interacts with. Children are considered unable to make their own decisions until the reach the age of 18 in New Jersey, meaning that their guardians or custodians (normally the parents) have the right to decide.

In the context of divorce, the parent to whom custody is granted may not want the child or children to visit with the ex-spouse’s family. Most divorce settlements include terms that govern visitation between parents, but less often include grandparents in the visitation schedule.

New Jersey law recognizes that grandparents can develop and share an incredibly strong bond with grandchildren. Many times, the work schedules of parents lead to the grandparents being heavily involved in the development and day-to-day life of the child. When a parent in a divorce is granted custody, he or she may seek to limit the contact of the ex-spouse’s family, out of fear that the child’s relationship with that family could interfere with his or her ability to develop new family bonds and relationships. New Jersey law can prevent such complete elimination of contact from happening.

Making a Claim for Grandparent Visitation Rights

In order to successfully request that the court enter a visitation order for grandparents, the grandparents must show to the court:

  • That the grandparent having visitation rights is in the best interests of the child or the children
  • That no grandparent visitation rights would be potentially harmful or a negative influence upon the child or children
  • The nature of the relationship between the child’s parent or guardian and the grandparent seeking visitation
  • The amount of time that has passed since the grandparent last saw the child
  • The effect visitation will have on the relationship between the child and their parents
  • The good faith of the grandparent in filing and making the request
  • Whether the grandparent has a history of neglect or abuse
  • Any other relevant factors

A long list of elements, to be certain. However, grandparents who were full-time caretakers for the child in the past do not need to provide any additional evidence that continued visitations are in the child’s best interests; the court presumes that to be the case. Overall, the sole purpose behind the elements is to show the court that granting (or not granting) visitation rights is what is best for the child or children overall. As courts have often said, the “best interests of the child” standard is the pole star for any decisions involving that child – it should always be the question that the court comes back to and answers in the affirmative in any decision it renders.

New Jersey’s law applies to both grandparents and siblings of a child.

Dealing With Grandparent Visitation Issues in New Jersey

This law is critical to any New Jersey grandparent or sibling that has lost access to someone. The bar for earning the court’s approval is high, but should not deter you. If you have lost access to a grandchild or sibling and want it back, contact an experienced New Jersey Grandparent Visitation Rights attorney. The Law Office of Daniel K. Newman is ready to assist you in this difficult time. Contact our office today for a free consultation.

The articles on this blog are for informative purposes only and are no substitute for legal advice or an attorney-client relationship. If you are seeking legal advice, please contact our law firm directly.