Some couples contemplating separation and divorce worry if they can afford their current lifestyle after divorce. In addition, many couples worry that the court arbitrarily assigns a figure to their mandatory child support payments. This is not true. While some lifestyle and living arrangements will change after divorce, child support calculations are based on imputed income and contributions to the marriage. If you have shared children with a soon-to-be ex-spouse and are worried about child support, call our attorneys at Eveland & Foster.
Completing Financial Statements
During the divorce process, while you are gathering important documents and drafting a marital settlement agreement, it is important you give some thought to preparing a financial statement. Both parties prepare their own financial statement even if the prepared forms are identical. This is one of the most integral exhibits you will enter as evidence. The presiding judge also relies heavily on the financial statement in determining child support awards. The financial statement allows the parties to detail a list of assets and liabilities along with contributing income and an itemized list of monthly expenses. Every item from the mortgage to monthly subscriptions is listed on the financial statement. It is important that you do not guess and that you use true figures from monthly bills when preparing your statement because it is submitted to the court and shared with the other party.
Child Support Calculator
Prior to a scheduled hearing or settlement conference, you can use the New Jersey Child Support Calculator. It is a state-provided service that approximates your monthly child support calculation based on your monthly income and number of children. The calculator is a rough estimate of your contribution. The court will also use non-monetary contributions and the terms of your marital settlement agreement as well as custody arrangements to determine child support. If one parent has primary physical custody the other parent will generally contribute a proportion of support. If both parents have shared physical custody, the parent who contributes more income will likely be required to pay a portion of child support to the other parent accounting for physical time shared. The court will also look at factors like the age of the child, who carries the child on their health insurance plan, cost of education, special needs considerations, and other unique factors. No two child support orders are alike, and you should not make assumptions based on popular culture or the income disparity or equality between yourself and your ex-spouse.
Modifications and Arrears
If a child reaches the age of majority, a parent becomes unemployed or another major life change occurs, a party can petition the court for modifications to the order, but they must also serve the other party. Only the court can grant modifications. Even if the other party falls behind in making timely payments, arrears( missed payments) cannot be waived or discharged in bankruptcy. In fact, if non-payment continues the owed party can petition the court and a writ of judgment can be ordered, or the court can order wages or benefits garnished until the arrears are paid off.
Call Our Attorneys Today
Our attorneys at Eveland & Foster, LLC specialize in all aspects of family law including child custody and child support orders. If you have specific questions about what you may owe or are entitled to after divorce, call today to schedule a consultation. We can assist with filing modifications as well.
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