While a parent's child support obligation does not come to an end automatically when the child becomes an adult, a parent can apply for termination of child support responsibilities once the child has attained a predetermined age. The benchmark varies from state to state; in New Jersey, a parent can expect to pay child support at least until the child is 19 years old.
Terms in your child support agreements are usually specific and complete, and, as a result, you would likely not encounter many situations in which you would have to make a change. However, there are various exceptions to this rule. Say, for example, you were moving to an area of New Jersey with a higher cost of living, or if your child had an emergency causing medical expenses to start piling up; you might want to revise your agreement to share this financial burden with your former spouse.
New Jersey parents who pay or receive child support might, over the years, find that the amount of child support paid or received needs to change. The circumstances that lead to this include the children's changing needs, medical issues or income changes due to unemployment or a change in employment.
When a couple with children divorces, it can be difficult for the lower-income parent to make ends meet. Child support is used as a means of assistance in this situation. A parent can petition for support directly from the other parent, or they may go on public assistance and the New Jersey government will do everything in its power to collect from the payer. The government does this to ensure the child has what they need without putting undue burden on taxpayers.
A special needs child requires structure and predictability in their daily schedules. The slightest deviation can compound a special needs child's anxiety. Indeed, parents of a special needs child are quite familiar with the meltdowns that can result from the most minute modifications to that child's schedule. Conversely, a strict maintenance to a consistent schedule can alleviate a special needs child's anxiety over time - as it provides comfort and certainty in a world they struggle to process and understand.
New Jersey residents who pay or receive child support often work with their local child support enforcement office. The White House and the Department of Health are advocating for a new system to be put in place to nationalize child support monitoring and enforcement. This proposal is radically different from many programs implemented so far during the Trump administration that are designed to push certain costs down to the state level.
Many New Jersey residents use gig work as their sole sources of income, and others perform this type of work to supplement their incomes. While the availability of gig work has been a financial boon to people, some parents have used the gig economy as a way to avoid their child support obligations.
New Jersey workers whose wages are garnished for child support are more likely to be men than women. A nationwide study by the ADP Research Institute that was released on Sept. 27 found that of the 7 percent of workers who had wage garnishments in 2016, nearly three quarters were men and the majority were for child support. Consumer debt, student loans and taxes were more common reasons for women to have garnishments. Almost two-thirds of people whose wages were garnished were 35 to 54 years old.
Child support is an obligation, even if the parents are separated or divorced. Once a child support order is established, the paying parent is responsible for the monthly amount. However, as New Jersey parents know, life is full of changes and there might come a time when there is a need to modify a support order.
Despite the fact that both parents are legally mandated to support their children, child support often goes unpaid. One study in the 1990s found that while almost half of child support payments were in default, the same was true of only 3 percent of car loans. However, in some cases, a New Jersey parent might struggle to keep up child support payments because the amount has been set so high. In other cases, custodial parents might abuse the system by using the child support money for their own personal items.