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The truth about the child support system

Parents in New Jersey and throughout the country may not like the idea of paying child support. For some individuals, they are an attempt by their former spouses to extort them. However, child support payments should be viewed as an attempt to provide help for children who need both parents in their lives. Generally speaking, a parent has an opportunity to show how much he or she can afford to pay.

If a parent cannot be located, an income may be imputed based on his or her job history and other factors. While this may or may not reflect a parent's current income, it is not done in an attempt to harm this individual. If a noncustodial parent experiences a decrease in income, it may be a good idea to ask for a modification to the current support order. The sooner this is done, the better the outcome may be for that parent.

It is important to note that a future spouse's funds could be used to make child support payments if those funds are commingled. However, only the child's legal parents are responsible for supporting the child financially. A future spouse's income is generally not a factor in how much a noncustodial parent is required to provide for his or her children.

Generally speaking, parents are required to pay child support until a child turns 18. The amount of a payment is determined by state guidelines as well as other unique factors in a case such as a child having special needs. Support orders may be modified if a parent's income changes or if doing so is in the best interest of the child. An attorney may help a parent understand the system and what to do if his or her circumstances change.

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