When handling issues such as New Jersey Child Support and Alimony, a common question is whether the support can be made directly. As a New Jersey Child Support Lawyer I immediately explain to my client that if they are willing to except the payments directly, they do so at a risk. Under the New Jersey Child Support law, unless the recipient is willing to accept direct payments, the Family Judge will automatically order that said payments to be made through the Probation Department in the county that they reside in.
The primary reason I recommend that support should go through the Probation Department is that it is for their own protection. While no guarantees ever exist, New Jersey Child Support laws provide the Probation Department with the tools for you to receive your support payments. First, if they are employed, the support shall be garnished straight from their wages. If they are self-employed they shall receive a “coupon book” along with instructions for direct payments. Obviously, with direct payments, you are at the mercy of the person paying support to do the right thing.
Second, in the case that support payments start to fall behind, NJ Child Support laws provides remedies to help collect arrears. One of my favorites is that any and all tax refunds are “redirected” to the person who is owed support. Furthermore, if a New Jersey attorney receives a personal injury or estate settlement, they are obligated by law to conduct a child support search. If even their own client owes money, that attorney must forward any arrears to the individual dues those monies.
Third, their New Jersey Driver’s License can be revoked or denied for renewal. The same goes for anyone who holds a professional license, such as a lawyer or a doctor. Certainly, the ultimate penalty is a bench warrant for their arrest.
Lastly, under New Jersey Court Rules, when support payments run through the Probation Department, an automatic Cost of Living Adjustment (COLA) is conducted which many times results in an increase of support.
For all of the foregoing reasons and even more, your should have an expert New Jersey Child Support Lawyer handle your matter in ensure that absolutely everything possible under the law has been done to best ensure that you receive your report. Following, please find most of the relevant New Jersey Child Support statutes:
The rule that governs this idea is rule 5:7-4 and is reproduced below.
5:7-4. Alimony and Child Support Payments—Subsection A
(a) Allocation of Support. In awarding alimony, maintenance or child support, the court shall separate the amounts awarded for alimony or maintenance and the amounts awarded for child support, unless for good cause shown the court determines that the amounts should be unallocated. In awarding child support, payments for health care, child care and other expenses necessary to maintain the child or children shall be designated as part of the child support award unless good cause is shown why such amounts should be separated.
5:7-4. Alimony and Child Support Payments—Subsection B
(b) Payments Administered by the Probation Division. Enforcement of child support orders shall presumptively be in the county in which the child support order is first established (county of venue), unless the court orders the case transferred for cause. In cases where venue of a support case is transferred, Probation supervision of the case shall concurrently be transferred to the county of venue, unless the court otherwise orders for cause.
5:7-4. Alimony and Child Support Payments—Subsection C
(c) Establishment of Support Arrears at the Hearing. At an establishment hearing in any new dissolution, non-dissolution, or domestic violence case, when the payment of support is ordered, the judge, child support hearing officer, attorneys, or court staff, as appropriate, shall calculate the child support obligation, payment on arrears, and total arrears owed so that these amounts will be known to the parties before they leave court. When establishing arrears, findings shall be made on:
(1) any direct payments made by the obligor to the obligee between the effective date of the order and the date of the hearing, on a showing of credible proof, and
(2) the amount and frequency of regular payments to be made toward the arrears. The forms and procedures to implement the provisions of this rule shall be prescribed by the Administrative Director of the Courts.
5:7-4. Alimony and Child Support Payments—Subsection D
(d) Payments to the New Jersey Family Support Payment Center. Payments to the New Jersey Family Support Payment Center. A judgment or order for payment of any support administered by the Probation Division shall be deemed to provide that payments are payable to the New Jersey Family Support Payment Center.
5:7-4. Alimony and Child Support Payments—Subsection E
(e) Income Withholding. All complaints, notices, pleadings, orders and judgments which include child support filed or entered on or after October 1, 1990 shall comply with the income withholding provisions of Rule 5:7-5.
5:7-4. Alimony and Child Support Payments—Subsection F
(f) All Notices Applicable to All Orders and Judgments That Include Child Support Provisions. The judgment or order shall include notices stating:
(1) that, if support is not paid through immediate income withholding, the child support provisions of an order or judgment are subject to income withholding when a child support arrearage has accrued in an amount equal to or in excess of the amount of support payable for 14 days; the withholding is effective against the obligor's current and future income from all sources authorized by law;
(2) that any payment or installment of an order for child support or those portions of an order that are allocated for child support shall be fully enforceable and entitled to full faith and credit and shall be a judgment by operation of law against the obligor on or after the date it is due; before entry of a warrant of satisfaction of the child support judgment, any party to whom the child support is owed has the right to request assessment of post-judgment interest on child support judgments;
(3) that no payment or installment of an order for child support or those portions of an order that are allocated for child support shall be retroactively modified by the court except for the period during which the party seeking relief has pending an application for modification
(4) that the occupational, recreational, and professional licenses, including a license to practice law, held or applied for by the obligor may be denied, suspended or revoked if: (i) a child support arrearage accumulates that is equal to or exceeds the amount of child support payable for six months, or (ii) the obligor fails to provide health care coverage for the child as ordered by the court within six months, or (iii) a warrant for the obligor's arrest has been issued by the court for obligor's failure to pay child support as ordered, or for obligor's failure to appear at a hearing to establish paternity or child support, or for obligor's failure to appear at a child support hearing to enforce a child support order and said warrant remains outstanding;
(5) that the driver's license held or applied for by the obligor may be denied, suspended, or revoked if (i) a child support arrearage accumulates that is equal to or exceeds the amount of child support payable for six months, or (ii) the obligor fails to provide health care coverage for the child as ordered by the court within six months;
(6) that the driver's license held or applied for by the obligor shall be denied, suspended, or revoked if the court issues a warrant for the obligor's arrest for failure to pay child support as ordered, or for failure to appear at a hearing to establish paternity or child support, or for failure to appear at a child support hearing to enforce a child support order and said warrant remains outstanding;
(7) that the amount of child support and/or the addition of a health care coverage provision in Title IV-D cases shall be subject to review, at least once every three years, on written request by either party to the Division of Family Development, P.O. Box 716, Trenton, NJ 08625-0716 and adjusted by the court, as appropriate, or upon application to the court;
(8) that the parties are required to notify the appropriate Probation Division of any change of employer, address, or health care coverage provider within 10 days of the change and that failure to provide such information shall be considered a violation of the order;
(9) that the custodial parent may require the non-custodial parent's health care coverage provider to make payments directly to the health care provider by submitting a copy of the relevant sections of the order to the insurer;
(10) that Social Security numbers are collected and used in accordance with the Social Security Act, that disclosure of an individual's Social Security number for Title IV-D purposes is mandatory, that Social Security numbers are used to obtain income, employment, and benefit information on individuals through computer matching programs with federal and state agencies, and that such information is used to establish and enforce child support; and
(11) that after a judgment or order is entered and a probation support account has been established, the obligee and the obligor shall notify the appropriate Probation Division of any change of employer, health insurance provider, or address and the obligee and obligor shall notify the Probation Division of a change of address or a change in the status of the children as may be required in the order or judgment within ten days of the change, and any judgment or order that includes alimony, maintenance, or child support shall so provide. Failure to provide information as to change of employer, health insurance provider, address, or status of the children shall be considered a violation of the order.
5:7-4. Alimony and Child Support Payments—Subsection G
(g) Electronic Signatures on Child Support Orders.
(1) An electronic signature is one gathered through the use of a computer input device. An electronic signature is an acceptable alternative to a signature collected through an ink pen on paper, and constitutes an original signature.
(2) The automated child support system provides a mechanism for collecting electronic signatures of the parties, child support hearing officer, and judge of the Superior Court on a computerized or digital version of the Uniform Summary Support Order ("USSO").
(3) When an electronic signature of a party or other non-judiciary personnel is collected through the automated child support system, the signing individual must be given notice at the time the signature is collected, preferably in writing, of the significance of the requested signature.