When one parent gives money to another parent in order to promote the general health and welfare of their children, it’s called child support. In most situations, support is paid by the parent who does not have custody or only has limited custody or visitation. Laws that affect child support can be different in New Jersey than they are in other states, so it’s important for parents to be educated about the rules in their jurisdictions.

No matter what the particular circumstances are, the point of child support is to split the financial responsibility for raising children between each parent. Typically, a non-custodial parent will make payment to the parent with primary custody so that they can pay for things like food, clothing, education, medical bills and any other expenses related to childcare. Both mothers and fathers can be responsible for paying support, and marriage is not a prerequisite.

The amount of support owed is based on the income of both parents. Each state has varying guidelines for how payments are calculated. In some cases, the court will order that payment be taken directly out of a parent’s wages. This money is not intended for the use of the custodial parent’s own expenses that don’t affect their children.

When negotiating an agreement about child support during a divorce or other legal proceeding, each parent has the right to representation from an attorney. Some parents might have trouble, despite their best efforts, making the payments they owe. A lawyer may be able to help them file a child support modification.