Rules surrounding child support

Many parents in New Jersey find the rules surrounding child support payments to be confusing, especially when it concerns the termination of said payments. These noncustodial parents aren’t sure whether they are still obligated to meet their court-mandated financial duties if they are denied visitation. There’s also a lot of uncertainty about what happens in the event that the child doesn’t want to receive money from the parent.

Despite the confusion, most of the rules are clear. Even though it may seem counterintuitive to many parents, the courts see visitation and child support as two separate matters that are completely unrelated. Therefore, the cessation of one is no grounds for withholding the other. In other words, if the custodial parent chooses to deny the noncustodial parent visitation, the noncustodial parent does not have the right to reply in kind by not paying for child support. Instead, the noncustodial parent should contact the court and report the situation.

Nevertheless, the rules do allow for exceptions. For example, if the parent responsible for paying child support loses their job, the courts are willing to modify the obligation amount. Accordingly, parents who are having a hard time meeting their financial obligations are advised to contact and notify the court.

With that said, there are cases where the court will relieve the noncustodial parent from their obligations. A case in point is when the child asks to be emancipated. However, emancipation doesn’t come easy. In order for a court to grant emancipation, the child’s age and maturity level must be taken into account.

The fact that many parents are unclear about the rules can be problematic because breaking them may have dire consequences. For instance, a delinquent parent who doesn’t pay child support could have their license revoked or even go to jail. However, an experienced attorney could help a noncustodial parent through the support modification process.