When it comes to New Jersey child support, knowing your rights and entitlements will help ensure you get the best outcome possible. That's why it's important to learn about how the application process works, how child support is calculated, how it's collected and distributed and which government agencies you'll need to go through. We'll cover all that in this article, plus some tips on what you can do to track down a 'deadbeat' parent and make sure you get all the support payments owed to you.
New Jersey Child Support Wage Garnishment
When paying child support, it is never a good idea to make payments directly to the custodial parent. For instance, if the non-custodial parent were to make payments directly to the custodial parent for two years, she/he is capable of lying to the court saying that payments have not been made. Even if you have proof of payments, the courts will consider them gifts.
Looking on file to see that the accusations are true, the court orders the non-custodial parent to make up any payments that have been missed. New Jersey child support allows payments to be garnished from the non-custodial parent’s pay check.
Not only are payments verified by the New Jersey state agency, they are also proof of payments. This will eliminate any dishonest custodial parent of claming they have not received any child support payments.
NJ Child Support Application Process
In many cases, child support will be dealt with as part of the divorce process itself. If this is not the case in your scenario, you'll need to apply for child support by filing the appropriate documents with the New Jersey Department of Human Services (DHS). You can apply online or fill out the application form and take it into your nearest DHS office. The application fee is $6, which is quite low compared to other states around the US.
Once your application is filed, assuming you're entitled to child support, a child support order will be established.
Establishment of NJ Child Support
The amount of child support that needs to be paid will be calculated based on the New Jersey Support Guidelines. This will clearly outline how much each parent is liable for in terms of childcare, in concrete dollar amounts. The amount that needs to be paid from one parent to the other is calculated based on these amounts.
Once the amount to be paid has been laid out, a child support order will be established. This will legally bind the non-custodial parent to make payments for the specified amount to the custodial parent on a regular basis.
Child Support Collection and Distribution
Once an order has been established, it's not simply a case of the non-custodial parent transferring money into the custodial parent's bank account once a month. Payments need to be processed through the proper channels, so the DHS has clear records of payments that have (or haven't) been made.
Once payment has been made to the DHS, it will be redistributed to the other parent. This helps avoid disputes about the amount paid and whether payments have been made on time.
Dealing with Deadbeat Parents
There are enforcement actions that can be taken in the event that a parent with child support obligations fails to pay. There are many actions the NJ Child Support Agency can use to ensure a parent pays money owed. If the non-custodial parent is several months behind on payments, you're still entitled to that money. Collecting the money can be achieved through a variety of means, such as garnishing wages or directly seizing assets. There are also indirect ways to encourage deadbeat parents to pay, such as cancelling their driver's license. In worst-case scenarios, failure to pay child support can be followed up with an arrest warrant, court action and the possibility of jail time.
Likewise, if you can't locate the other parent before you apply for child support, the DHS can help you track them down.