In many cases, divorcing parents in New Jersey and around the country who are not awarded primary custody of their child may be ordered to pay child support as part of the divorce decree. In some states, the amount awarded is determined by established guidelines that only look at the noncustodial parent's income. Many paying parents often do not believe this system to be fair.
The results of a study conducted by Arizona State University researchers found that the respondents largely believed that child support should be in part based on the amount of income the custodial parent is bringing in. Additionally, many believed that once the amount was ordered, the child support amount should not remain the same if there was a change in the custodial parent's income. Further, responses also indicated that, if the custodial parent remarried, the stepparent's income should be taken into account.
A divorce lawyer noted that, in most cases, noncustodial parents often believe that they are ordered to pay far too much while the recipients believe that they are not being paid enough. As the noncustodial parent's income increases, the amount of child support may also rise to cover child care costs the noncustodial parent has never had to worry about. Additionally, the income of stepparents is not considered because the stepparent is not legally responsible for the child.
Although there are some parents who refuse to pay their mandated child support out of spite towards their former spouse, there are many who are legitimately unable to do so due to an adverse change in financial circumstances. In such an event, a family law attorney may be of assistance in preparing and submitting to the court a request for a modification of the order.