Middlesex County Child Custody and Support

Family Law Lawyers Advising Middlesex County Residents

Located in north-central New Jersey, Middlesex County has an estimated population of over 800,000 people. In 2010, there were 281,186 households, 34.4% of which included minor children living with parents. In fact, 23.7% of the County's population was under the age of 18. Parents who are going through a divorce can consult a Middlesex County child custody attorney at Goldstein Law Group to protect their rights and interests.

Determining Child Custody and Support Obligations under New Jersey Law

The state of New Jersey follows an “Income Shares Model” of child support. Complex and detailed guidelines govern the support that parents must spend on children. These guidelines typically consider how much parents would spend on a child if they were not getting a divorce and then split this amount proportionately between the parents based on their income.

In many cases, you can estimate what the court is likely to order by completing either a shared parenting or solo parenting worksheet. Among other things, the guidelines factor in combined net income, which is made up of parents' gross incomes minus any allowable deductions. Included in gross incomes are wages, self-employment income, bonuses, rent, commissions, pensions, and workers' compensation benefits. Deductions include income tax, mandatory retirement contributions, court-ordered support paid for children from other relationships or a former spouse, and mandatory union dues.

When one parent is considered to have sole custody, that parent will receive a higher percentage of available income. The court will presume that he or she will pay more of the direct costs of child rearing and will have higher expenses for housing and food, which the child shares. However, a non-custodial parent is able to ask for a partial reduction of support if there are times during which he or she has more custody during holiday or vacation periods.

Support is calculated differently in what is known as a "shared parenting arrangement." In shared parenting arrangements, one parent may be considered the parent of primary residence, but time may be equal or mostly equal between parents. For purposes of child support, shared parenting includes any arrangement in which a non-custodial parent has between 28% and 50% of the total annual overnights with a child.

The custody arrangement will strongly affect the amount of support to be paid. However, courts will not make determinations based solely on parental preferences. They will look at the "best interest of the child," meaning they will focus on the child's safety, happiness, and welfare. They may consider factors such as the parents' ability to communicate, any history of abuse, the interactions of a child with his or her parents and siblings, the child's needs, the stability of home life, the quality of the child's education, parental fitness, the geographical proximity of the parents' homes, the amount of time spent with the child before or after separation, the parents' parental responsibilities, and the age and number of children. If a child is old enough, the court may also consider the wishes of the child.

Contact a Middlesex County Attorney for a Child Custody Matter

At Goldstein Law Group, our sophisticated family law lawyers can help you develop a suitable child custody and support arrangement. If an agreement is possible, we can take any issues before the court on your behalf. Contact our Middlesex County child custody lawyers at 732-967-6777 or by completing our online form.

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