It is a common misconception that children automatically emancipate upon reaching the age of eighteen in New Jersey. In reality, there is no specific age when a child emancipates and child support payments terminate.

In fact, New Jersey law is clear that such findings are always fact-sensitive based on the circumstances of each case.

Continue Reading The Termination of Child Support Law—Benefit or Burden?

There are many rules in our court system pertaining to the filing of pleadings. In order to start a divorce case in court, a Complaint for Divorce must be filed. The date the complaint is marked “filed” is generally the date we use for valuing assets and debts subject to equitable distribution. In order to obtain court-ordered relief during the pendency of a divorce case with regard to temporary child support, alimony, or other issues, a motion must be filed requesting such relief. Generally, relief is granted as of the date that the motion was filed.

In some cases we choose not to file a complaint right away, with the hope of settling the case prior to getting involved in litigation in the court system. In other cases, we may file a Complaint for Divorce in order to establish the cut-off date for equitable distribution, but our goal may be to stay out of court and try to settle the case without court intervention.

Continue Reading When Does Child Support Begin?

A change in circumstances is a common occurrence in post divorce matters. The financial status of either divorcing party can easily change following a divorce. Considering that financial obligations, like child support, are calculated at the time of divorce, changes in financial status are especially impactful for those making the child support payments.

However, there is another factor to consider when attempting to modify child support payments:  the geographical location of the parties. Again, many things can change following a divorce—for example, either party can move from the state that initially granted the divorce. If that happens, it opens up a whole host of new questions. The foremost of which has to be, Which state should the party attempting to modify the child support payments file their petition? Choosing a state that has proper jurisdiction over a child support modification is critical because different states have different laws that could significantly affect what the revised payments are.

The Uniform Interstate Family Support Act (UIFSA) addresses this exact question and provides guidance as to which state has jurisdiction over the modification of child support payments. The UIFSA has been codified by every state. For example, in New Jersey, N.J.S.A. 2A:4-30.72a provides that a State has continuing, exclusive jurisdiction over a child support order as long as the State remains the home of the obligor (the individual making the child support payments), the obligee (the individual receiving the child support payments) or the child who is the center of the child support order.

Continue Reading Jurisdictional Requirements of Child Support Modifications

One of the more vexing issues in a divorce case involves determining an appropriate level of alimony or child support. If the parties’ incomes are not disputed, the task is easier, but if one or both parties are unemployed or “underemployed,” the issue of determining a fair and reasonable level of potential income arises. To

I have encountered this question, or variations of it, with some frequency over the years. My answer, while surprising to some, is always “no.” This is not to say that parties are barred from entering into settlement agreements concerning their children; on the contrary, New Jersey law strongly favors such settlements and will not interfere