Can I Avoid Child Support in New Jersey?
Occasionally, our law firm’s divorce attorneys are asking the question, “is there any way to get out of paying child support?” The answer is generally no, a parent cannot give up or surrender their child’s right to child support. This is because, according to New Jersey law, the right for a child to receive this support is not the parent’s right to decline, even if that is the custodial parent. A custodial parent does not have a right to waive child support because this support duty is owed to the supported child. When a custodial parent files an action for child support it is strictly on behalf of the child. This is different from alimony which can be waived if one person wishes to give up their right to marital support.
What if One Parent Has No Income?
Even non-custodial parents whose earnings are significantly low must pay some amount to establish the principle of the parent’s support obligation. This is the case even if that non-custodial parents earns no income. The court will do what is called “imputation of income”. In imputing income, the court will consider whether to assign income to a parent when calculating child support and the court will determine whether the parent is “voluntarily” underemployed or intentionally so. In determining how much income to impute to the parent the court will look at the parent’s earning history, education, age, experience and geographical location.
Consequences of Failing to Pay Child Support in NJ
Individuals who do not pay their child support are faced with unpleasant consequences. If the payments are to be made through the Probation Department, they will keep track of the amount overdue and they may eventually seek to enforce collection with regard to same. Probation is more likely to seek collection in the event that your ex-spouse is diligent with regard to his or her efforts contacting Probation and lodging complaints.
A result of such an enforcement application can include a bench warrant being issued for your arrest. If there is an active bench warrant, you may face a number of unpleasant situations, such as having the county sheriff come to your home or place of employment and arrest you. Probation has other enforcement vehicles available as well, such as suspending your professional license, suspending your driver’s license, or making the necessary arrangements to intercept any tax refund money that you may be entitled to. They can even go so far as invalidating your passport and prohibiting your ability to travel outside of the country.
If you are picked up for child support arrears, your matter is typically scheduled for an ability to pay hearing wherein you are given the opportunity to present to the judge your reasons for not paying the previously ordered child support amount. The judge may set a purge amount and you will be released from custody in the event that you pay a percentage of the aggregate arrears that are owed.
It is strongly recommended that you retain the services of an experienced attorney if you owe a significant amount of child support to your ex-spouse. An attorney may be able to negotiate a settlement with your ex-spouse without the need for a court appearance and may be able to vacate any warrants that have been issued for your arrest. In the event that you are faced with a child support obligation that you cannot comply with, please call the experienced family law attorneys at Villani & DeLuca and arrange for your free initial consultation today.
Villani & DeLuca – Your NJ Child Support Law Firm
Partner Vincent C. DeLuca of Villani & DeLuca has successfully mediated hundreds of divorcing individuals in matters where the amount of child support was in dispute. He is certified by the Supreme Court as a Matrimonial Law Attorney and he also has been approved by the Supreme Court of New Jersey as an Economic Mediator. He typically conducts five mediations per week. Should you have any interest in discussing your current child support obligations and whether or not you qualify to modify the amount you owe, please call Villani & DeLuca at 732-965-3350 today and schedule your initial consultation.