Manalapan Family Law Attorneys

Legal Guidance for Manalapan Residents Pursuing a Divorce

For many divorcing parents, the assistance of a knowledgeable, family law attorney is critical when issues of child custody and child support are contested. A knowledgeable Manalapan family law lawyer at Goldstein Law Group can help you determine which battles are worth fighting, and can present your case in a persuasive light to the court or to a mediator.

Effect of Child Custody on Child Support

New Jersey parents are obligated to financially and otherwise support their children. When ordering child support, courts follow the formulas set forth in the New Jersey Child Support Guidelines, which are designed by the legislature to come close to the total amount that each parent would spend supporting the child if the family remained intact. This amount is allocated between the two parents, based on the parents’ incomes and other factors.

To determine the parties’ child support obligations, the court will look at the combined net income of the parents. This includes their wages, income from self-employment, any commissions, bonuses, dividend income, rent, pensions, workers’ compensation, and unemployment insurance benefits. From this amount, the court will deduct items such as income taxes (in the correct amount of what income/payroll taxes should be, not necessarily the specific taxes which a parent has withheld from his or her paycheck, which may be too high or too low, and therefore distorts the true net income the parent should be receiving each pay period), mandatory retirement contributions, mandatory union dues, and the legal obligations that each parent may have to support children from other relationships. A family law attorney can explain to Manalapan residents which items may be deducted based upon their situation.

The guidelines assume that one parent is the primary custodial parent (the parent of primary residence, or PPR) and that this person will spend more and have higher fixed expenses in the form of providing shelter, food, furniture, etc. for the child. However, a parent who does not have primary residential custody but with whom a child spends more than two overnights each week (the parent of alternate residence, or PAR) is entitled to an adjustment based on how much time he or she spends with the child. Achieving this 28% overnight threshold triggers the use of the “shared parenting” child support guidelines worksheet, as opposed to the “sole parenting” guidelines worksheet.

The court will also look at whether either parent is unemployed or underemployed by choice. It will evaluate the parent’s potential earning capacity, and may calculate the child support based upon income imputed to that parent, rather than the parent’s actual income. When one of the parents cares for young children rather than putting the children in daycare, he or she can receive an offset for the childcare expenses that would otherwise be necessary if he or she were to work outside the home.

In general, the guidelines do not apply to children who are over 18 and who have graduated from high school. Otherwise, child support terminates only if the support order indicates a specific date upon which it terminates, or if a parent files papers with the court asking that it be terminated. Sometimes, New Jersey parents are ordered to contribute to the support of a child over 18 who attends college or vacation/trade school full time, but the court’s priority is the needs of minor children. Support will generally continue until a child is emancipated.

Contact a Family Law Lawyer in the Manalapan Area

At Goldstein Law Group, we offer experienced divorce lawyers who have helped many families in the Manalapan area resolve their child custody and child support issues. WE understand that emotions may run high during divorce and strive to help our clients pursue what they feel is best for their families. You can reach our Manalapan family law attorneys at 732-967-6777 or via our online form. We have also provided services to individuals in New Brunswick, East Brunswick, and Old Bridge, among other surrounding New Jersey communities.

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