Edward R. Weinstein, Esq.Edward R. Weinstein, Esq.

Fault in New Jersey Child Support Determination

When determining the amount of child support that must be paid, and which parent should be responsible for paying that amount, a lot of factors come into play. Some of these factors may include income, education level, current occupation, and more. The recognition of fault in New Jersey child support determination would impact the parenting time in an indirect manner. If you want to know more about fault in New Jersey child support determination, consult a knowledgeable child support attorney that can answer your questions.

Role of Fault in Child Support Determination

When getting a divorce, fault in New Jersey child support determination is not as relevant as many people think. New Jersey is considered a no-fault state, which means that the court does not have to assign fault to either party for the dissolution of the marriage.

Instead, the parties can get divorced for no reason, whatsoever; they just do not get along, which is which is referred to as irreconcilable differences. There are fault-based claims for divorce that a person can file under and those are adultery, extreme cruelty, and desertion.

A person does not get more child support just because they have a fault-based claim for divorce. There is not a box that a person clicks for that. Instead, both these claims indirectly affect child support because it may affect the parenting time that the one party – most often, the noncustodial parent – has with the child. Child support reflects the parenting time through the number of overnights. That is how indirectly fault-based claims for divorce affect child support.

Potential Problems in a Highly Contested Case

Highly contested cases typically tend to deal with the income of the parties. There is a lot of potential for income to be considered. It is not just is stated on a person's W2. It can be from rent, it can be from net gambling winnings and other sources.

When people are arguing about what is included in income, it typically does get messy. Family businesses are an issue because one party is accusing the other of hiding money or when people are involuntarily underemployed or if people are cash employees and working off the book.

Typical Issues Surrounding Income in Child Support Cases

If there is an issue with income when discussing child support, there is usually one party saying they do not make enough money and another party saying that the individual makes more money than they are claiming to make, and therefore, child support should be higher.

If there is an issue in determining what income or what party has as income, the court will order what is called a plenary hearing, which is a trial before the divorce as well but it is a trial in family court and that is where the court will ask for all the proof. Using the testimony of witnesses, an income determination will be made from there and then the guidelines are run. It is much easier if the parties just agree to what guidelines should have used as income for both the parties.

Evidence Attorneys Use to Determine Appropriate Child Support Payments

When trying to use evidence to determine appropriate child support payments, attorneys often look to the case information statement, which needs to be completed by both parties when dealing with a modification for any application in the family court.

The case information statement is about ten pages long. It would ask for a person's income information. It would ask for assets and liabilities, the person's most recent paychecks, three of them, the person's W2 form. It would ask for how much a person would spend on entertainment, on their rent, or their mortgage. It would ask for all that information and that is included in the guideline.

 If an individual wants to know more about determining child support payments and the role of fault in New Jersey child support determination, they should consult a qualified child support lawyer.