How to Enforce Child Support Payments in New Jersey
All parents have a legal obligation to financially support their children. Child support is the State of New Jersey’s legal means to ensure both parents continue their financial responsibilities during and after divorce.
Like custody, all child support decisions are negotiated between parties or made by the courts with the “best interest of the child(ren)” in mind.
If your ex-spouse is accumulating a backlog of unpaid child support payments (aka. “arrears”), the lawyers at Arons & Solomon can help.
Who Enforces Child Support Orders?
The State of New Jersey uses a computer system to keep track of the status of child support payments. It prefers to take automated payments directly out of a parent’s paycheck and send them to the person receiving support on behalf of the child. This transfer is facilitated through a county’s Child Support Enforcement office, commonly called “probation.”
What Are My Enforcement Options?
A court order for child support is legally binding. If the noncustodial parent is refusing to make payments, the receiving parent can work with the New Jersey Office of Child Support Services (OCSS) or request a hearing in family court to enforce child support obligations.
Both parents will receive a notice of the court hearing. If the paying parent fails to appear in court, an arrest warrant may be issued.
There are several options when it comes to collecting past-due child support payments. The court can order immediate payment of support owed (in-part or in-full) or create a debt payment schedule to supplement the existing child support payment schedule.
Money can be collected in the following ways:
- Garnishing wages
- Garnishing unemployment payments and/or workers’ compensation benefits
- Seizing assets, tax refunds, or lottery winnings
- Putting a lien on a property to prevent it from sale or transfer until the debts are paid
Continued failure to pay child support can result in lowered credit scores, revoked driver’s licenses and passports, suspended professional licenses, and jail time.
My Ex-Spouse is Unemployed
Child support obligations remain in place despite the employment status of the paying parent. If the paying parent is unemployed, he/she can petition the court for a reduced payment or a temporary pause in payments until a new job is found. However, the regular child support court order will resume when employment resumes.
In the State of New Jersey, unemployment income can be used to make child support payments. It can be withheld just like wages.
If you suspect your ex-spouse has begun working again, he/she will be identified in the state’s “New Hires Directory,” which requires New Jersey employers to report the names, addresses, and Social Security numbers of all new employees and contract workers within 20 days of hire.
Do Not Withhold Parenting Time (aka. Visitation) Rights
A custodial parent cannot withhold parenting time from a noncustodial parent due to skipped child support payments. It may be tempting to “punish” the financially delinquent parent by denying access to the children, but it will only backfire. Courts view custody/parenting time and child support as entirely separate issues.
In the eyes of the courts, breaking one legally-binding arrangement to make a point about another broken legal arrangement simply means both parents are now breaking the law.
Never try to self-administer justice when it comes to enforcing a divorce settlement. Always seek resolution through the system using an experienced divorce and family law attorney.
Hire a North Jersey Divorce Attorney
If you are chasing down child support payments in northern New Jersey, we can help. Our team at Arons & Solomon will organize the facts of your case and protect the financial needs of your children. Contact us today for a free consultation.Request a Free Consultation »