Kent Law Group, LLC New Jersey Family Law - (609) 309-7071

Kent Law Group, LLC
100 Horizon Center Blvd, 1st Floor
Hamilton, NJ 08691

T: (609) 309-7071
F: (609) 309-7072

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Kent Law Group, LLC serves the entire state of New Jersey with satelitte offices at the following locations


PRINCETON
116 Village Blvd, Suite 200
Princeton, NJ 08540

EAST BRUNSWICK
197 State Route 18 South, Suite 3000, South Wing
East Brunswick, NJ 08816

BRIDGEWATER
1200 Route 22 East, Suite 200
Bridgewater, NJ 08807

CHERRY HILL
923 Haddonfield Rd, Suite 300
Cherry Hill, NJ 08002
 

Custody & Child Support

CHILD CUSTODY

Child custody can be one of the most difficult decisions made during a divorce. A judge will base his or her decision on what is in the best interests of the child, not the desires of either parent. This is based on several factors, such as the age and health of the child and the financial situation of both parents. Given the complexities and emotions that can surround these matters, it is vital to have an experienced family law attorney on your side.

Determining who is granted custody, or deciding upon custody modifications, the court will take several questions into consideration. This includes the following:

  • Are both parents mentally stable?
  • Who provides day-to-day care for the child?
  • How is the current time-sharing agreement working?
  • How involved with the children have the parents historically been during the marriage?

FREQUENTLY ASKED QUESTIONS REGARDING CUSTODY

Are there any factors the court uses to make decisions regarding custody?

New Jersey courts use the “best interests of the child" standard to make decisions regarding custody. The court will take into account: (1) the age of the children, (2) the preferences of the children (assuming they are of an age to provide a preference), (3) the ability of each parent to provide care to the child, (4) the prior pattern of interaction between the parents, (5) the emotional and physical environment, and other equally important factors.

What are all of these acronyms I keep hearing about with reference to child custody?

New Jersey has a "parent of primary residence" (PPR) and a "parent of alternate residence" (PAR), although the goal is often for parents to be jointly responsible for the raising of the child. If the parties are unable to agree to a suitable custody arrangement, custody will be decided by the court utilizing a "best interests of the child” standard.  A neutral party would then be appointed by the court to evaluate each of the households and determine what would be in the best interests of the child.

Is there a standard for deciding cases where the custodial parent wants to move out of the state?

One of the landmark cases dealing with relocation was decided approximately fifteen years ago – Baures v. Lewis, 167 N.J. 91 (2001) – and really did a lot to set the standard for permitting custodial parents to leave the state. Baures states that the parent wishing to relocate must first provide evidence that (1) there is a good faith reason for the relocation and (2) that the relocation will not be harmful for the minor children’s interests (and it is in the children’s best interests to remain with the custodial parent). The court will also evaluate whether the relocation will adversely affect the non-custodial parent's parenting time. It is not unusual for the court to require the custodial parent to pay the costs of transportation for the children to travel to New Jersey to spend time with the non-custodial parent.

 

What factors does the court consider when determining whether parents should have to pay for their child to attend college?

There has certainly been a trend in recent years towards requiring parents to pay for their child to attend college – if the child wants to attend. In general, courts will consider the following factors when the parents are unable to come to an agreement regarding how to split college expenses:

 

(1) the effect of the background, values and goals of the parent on the reasonableness of the expectation of the child to attend higher education;

(2) the contribution sought by the child for the cost of higher education;

(3) the ability of the parent to pay that cost;

(4) the relationship of the requested contribution to the kind of school or course of study sought by the child;

(5) the financial resources of both parents;

(6) the commitment to and aptitude of the child for the requested education;

(7) the financial resources of the child, including assets held individually or in custodianship or trust;

(8) the ability of the child to earn income during the school year or on vacation;

(9) the availability of financial aid in the form of college grants;

(10) the child's relationship to the paying parent, including mutual affection and shared goals as well as responsiveness to parental advice and guidance;

(11) the relationship of education requested to any prior training and to the overall long range goals of the child.

The case that led to a parental duty to pay for college is: Newburgh v. Arrigo, 88 N.J. 529 (1982); if you would like to review a copy of this decision, please mention that to the reception and we will be happy to go over it with you!

 

To schedule a free phone consultation, please call our office at 609-309-7071 or email okent@oliviakentlaw.com


CHILD SUPPORT

Without a good family law attorney on your side, you can find yourself receiving minimal support for your family, or paying significantly more than you are able to afford. Don’t let poor representation cost your children the financial support they’re entitled to during your divorce. We will fight hard to make sure the court understands your financial needs when determining child support levels for your children.


Determining Your Child Support Obligations

Determining your child support obligation can be intimidating. What does the court consider? How do I avoid having to pay a disproportionate amount of the obligation? Will my former spouse spend my hard earned funds on something other than my child’s care? What if my kids don’t go to college? These are all questions that may be floating through your mind. The good news here is: if your combined salaries are below a certain threshold (and most people’s are) child support obligations tend to be very “formulaic” – meaning the court applies a tried-and-true formula to determine what each parent’s obligations are.

The first question to ask when determining the amount of child support is: What is the parents’ combined income? If the parents’ combined after tax income is less than $240,000 per year, the NJ Child Support Guidelines largely control the calculation. The courts look at which parent is the Parent of Primary Residence (PPR) and which parent is the Parent of Alternate Residence (PAR). The parent with more overnights with the child is the PRP; this will be the parent that receives child support.

What are the factors courts consider for parents earning a total of < $240,000 per year?

  1. Total number of overnights the child spends with each parent per week.
  2. Income of each of the parents.
  3. The percentage of the total income attributable to each parent.

In rare cases courts will override the amount determined under the Guidelines, but you shouldn’t expect them to.

Certain expenses are deemed “extraordinary” and are therefore subject to be added to the basic child support amount. These include medical/dental expenses, day care expenses, and any special needs or special talents of the child (which warrant nurturing). Each of these is typically allocated based on the percentage of each parent’s income.

What are the factors considered where the parents earn a total of > $240,000 per year.

In cases where the parents’ combined income exceeds $240,000 courts typically consider the following factors:

  1. The age and health of the child
  2. The child’s particular needs, including whether the child has the capacity for higher education (college, graduate school)
  3. The income or assets the child has
  4. The income of each parent, and the sources of the income
  5. The standard of living of each parent
  6. The assets or earning capabilities of each parent
  7. Debts of each parent
  8. Other support obligations of each parent
  9. The “standard of living” while the parents were married or living together

As always, it’s best to have a professional who can help navigate this process for you.

Still have questions? Please call (609) 309-7071 during business hours; we would be happy to help you.



FREQUENTLY ASKED QUESTIONS REGARDING SUPPORT

What are the criteria considered by the court to determine child support?

New Jersey courts consider the following criteria when determining whether (and how) to award child support:

(1) the needs of the child;

(2) the standard of living and the economic circumstances of each parent;

(3) the sources of income and assets of each parent;

(4) the earning ability of each parent, including educational background, training, employment skills, work experience, custodial responsibility for children (including the cost of providing child care and the length of time and cost of each parent to obtain training and experience for appropriate employment);

(5) the need and capacity of the child for education (including higher education);

(6) the age and health of the child and parents;

(7) the income and earning capacity of the child;

(8) prior support orders for other children;

(9) the reasonable debts and liabilities of each parent and child; and

(10) any other relevant facts.

What factors does the court consider when deciding what to award for child support?*

New Jersey courts take into account the following factors when making child support determinations:

(1) the needs of the child;

(2) the standard of living and the economic circumstances of each parent;

(3) the sources of income and assets of each parent;

(4) the earning ability of each parent, including educational background, training, employment skills, work experience, custodial responsibility for children (including the cost of providing child care and the length of time and cost of each parent to obtain training and experience for appropriate employment);

(5) the need and capacity of the child for education (including higher education);

(6) the age and health of the child and parents;

(7) the income and earning capacity of the child;

(8) prior support orders for other children;

(9) the debts and liabilities of each parent and child; and

(10) any other relevant facts the court deems relevant

To schedule a free phone consultation, please call our office at 609-309-7071 or email okent@oliviakentlaw.com