A recent analysis by the U.S. Census Bureau found that just 44 percent of custodial parents due child support received the full amount due. About two-thirds received some form of payment. The aggregate amount of support due in a single recent year nationally was $34 billion.
Fighting to recover child support in New Jersey can seem like an uphill battle. Our state isn’t the only one wrestling with it. For example, the Ohio Supreme Court was recently asked to consider whether parents who fail to support their kids should be barred by the government from procreating. In the case of Ohio v. Chapman, justices decided it was unconstitutional. Besides, they reasoned, there are other means of compelling “deadbeat” parents to make good on their child support debts.
Not all state courts have reached the same conclusion. In 2001, the Wisconsin Supreme Court touched on a national debate by upholding a probation condition barring a man from fathering additional children for five years unless he could prove he was capable of supporting the nine he already had. The ruling carved out a conflict between the right to ensure the welfare of children and the fundamental human right to procreate, established by the U.S. Supreme Court decades ago.
Child welfare advocates hailed the Wisconsin case (State v. Oakley) as a victory for kids and an assurance that child support would be enforced. Civil rights advocates still argue this type of condition is too great an infringement. Plus, it isn’t easily enforceable and there are less intrusive means of accomplishing the same thing.
Alternatives to these kind of orders for non-custodial parents in arrears:
- Participate in job training.
- Enroll in a program to ensure he/she is keeping a job and that support is deducted from that paycheck.
- Undergo educational and financial planning management.
- Submit to restrictions on spending.
Whether these are effective is debatable, but there is certainly no one-size fits-all solution. The very first step is getting a clear order of support established within the court system.
Can a New Jersey Child Support Attorney Help Me Collect Overdue Payments?
Orders of financial child support stem from the underlying principle that every child deserves financial (as well as emotional) support from both of their parents. This is true regardless of whether the parents were ever married or lived together.
New Jersey’s Child Support Guidelines are used to calculate the amount needed to adequately meet the child’s needs, based on the combined income of both parents.
If a non-custodial parent falls into arrears with his or her child support obligation, the state’s child support enforcement agency will track this and take steps to recover it on behalf of the parent who is owed. These steps can include (but aren’t limited to) seizing the non-custodial parent’s tax refund, lottery winnings and bank accounts. The agency can also take steps to suspend the non-payor’s driver’s license, report the failure to pay to credit reporting agencies and issue bench warrants for arrest.
If you are attempting to collect child support, there is no rule that requires you to hire a lawyer. That said, some ways in which hiring a Freehold child support attorney may be beneficial:
- Legally establish child support. You can’t collect child support if you don’t have a child support order, signed by a judge and filed with the court clerk’s office. Our offices can help you file a petition of support and gather documents relating to your income and the non-custodial parent’s financial situation, as well as the child’s needs. A hearing will be held and the judge will decide on or approve a monthly amount for the non-custodial parent to pay.
- File a motion for civil contempt. This is used when a person violates a court order. Filing this motion via written request is a way to tell the court you have a valid order for child support, the non-custodial parent isn’t holding up his/her end of the bargain and that he/she has the ability to pay (this will be presumed unless they can show otherwise). If the judge decides the hearing in your favor, a plan will be mapped out for the other parent to catch up and penalties may be tacked on.
- Courts can also order remedies to ensure support orders are paid. The court can take action like withholding income from the delinquent parent’s paycheck or garnishing money from financial accounts or put liens on vehicles.
If you have questions about how we may be able to help in your New Jersey child custody case, we offer free initial consultations over the phone and via Zoom. Call Rozin|Golinder Law, LLC today at (732) 810-0034 for a free and confidential consultation.