Usually (but not always) it’s a man who will pay to support his children after a divorce if the mother is a custodial parent. New Jersey fathers who pay child support should be aware of the laws that govern that support. Both parents are financially responsible for their children, and parents who share joint custody of their kids have child support calculated by the court based on the percentage of each person’s income and the time each parent has physical custody.

It doesn’t matter in the eyes of the law if a couple never married — it is beholden upon a parent to financially support his or her child. A stepfather typically isn’t responsible to pay child support unless he legally adopted the children. Child support payment amounts are usually calculated using a payor’s income and expenses with the state setting guidelines. These payments may be modified at some point if a payor or payee’s life circumstance changes.

Child support payments cannot be withheld under any circumstances. Even if visitation issues crop up and one parent refuses to let another see his or her children, a payor must continue to make support payments in the absence of a court order to the contrary. The two issues are separate. Failure to make child support payments could have dire consequences under the law that could include the garnishment of wages and even jail time.

New Jersey fathers who pay child support and who have unanswered questions about those payments, might do well to seek the advice of an experienced attorney. It is better to start a process in the initial stages of a problematic issue. Letting important issues slide when it comes to children may not be in anyone’s best interests — including the children.