Reexamining child support in New Jersey

In 2011, fathers who owed child support to the child's mother paid only an average of 61 percent of what was ordered. However, this does not always mean that those who didn't pay the full amount were deadbeats. Instead, a recent study shows that fathers in New Jersey and around the country who are cash poor try to help out in other ways such as buying diapers or paying educational expenses. These contributions average about $60 per month, according to the researchers.

The study of 367 low income noncustodial fathers revealed that only 66 of them were considered to be deadbeats. That means that they offered no type of direct cash support to the child's mother at all. An additional 28 percent paid cash directly to the mother while another 46 percent provided in-kind support. The study also found a correlation between the amount of time a father spent with his child and the amount of support offered to the mother.

Fathers who spent at least 10 hours a month with their children gave almost twice as much as those who were not allowed access to their children. However, researchers say that the current child support system keeps fathers away from their children simply because they don't provide cash to the custodial parents. In many cases, fathers would rather buy something meaningful for the child as they believe that it better shows his love and wins more admiration from the child.

A custodial parent often relies on the prompt payment of court-ordered child support. If circumstances change for either parent, it may be possible to modify the order in the future. A family law attorney might be of assistance in this regard.

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