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New Jersey Child Custody & New Jersey Child Support

Issues of child support, custody and visitation can make a divorce that much more complicated. Like family courts in all states, New Jersey courts strongly favor the divorcing parents to amicably work out a parenting agreement that has the best interests of the children in mind. When the parents alone cannot come to such an agreement, the court will step in and adjudicate a parenting agreement that takes the best interests of the children into account on issues such as custody, visitation, and financial support. The following headings detail the laws governing New Jersey child custody and support.

New Jersey Child Custody:
New Jersey courts resolve all issues of child custody as advocates of the best interests of the children. Generally, in making the decision, the courts will consider all relevant facts, and give the father and mother the same consideration regardless of the child’s sex or age. Either a sole or joint custody decision will be reached. Factors in the courts’ determination will include, among others: children’s age, their health, their wishes, the parental roles, and other needs of the children.
New Jersey Child Support:
Child support in New Jersey is determined in accordance with the “Income Shares Model” for child support, where each parent’s income is considered in relative proportion. The support amounts calculated from each parent then help decide which parent must pay the other in order to maintain the correct proportion and provide for the needs of the child.
Bear in mind that the Income Shares Model is not always followed, but a decision to follow a different standard will require supportive evidence showing 1) all the factors that affect the parties’ financial obligations differently, and 2) how applying a standard other than the Model will more effectively preserve the best interests of the child.
The factors considered in the awarding of child support are numerous. They include, but are not limited to:
  • Monetary support provided for other family members;
  • Debts accrued for the benefit of the child during the marriage;
  • Imputed income to a party who is voluntarily unemployed for the child’s benefit;
  • Court-ordered payments for health care or education for the child’s benefit;
  • Children’s independent financial resources, if any;
  • Education, training, and/or career opportunities of the parties and/or ability to pursue those opportunities; and
  • A written agreement between the parties over the amount of child support, if one exists.
A New Jersey child support/child custody lawyer can serve as your advocate and/or counsel in negotiating a parenting agreement, as well as help you understand your rights and responsibilities for child custody and support after divorce.