Resolving Child Support Issues

How Separated Parents Resolve Child Support Issues

The smell of autumn is in the air. Children are returning to school. They are resuming sports, music, art and other extra-curricular activities. Unreimbursed medical expenses are being incurred on their behalf. Separated, divorced or divorcing parents face a challenging set of issues surrounding payment. How do they resolve disagreements in a way that does not negatively impact the children?

Knowledge is Key

 Oftentimes divorced or divorcing parents rely on information from friends about their experiences. However, each family and their circumstances are unique. In order to better prepare for a discussion with a separated partner regarding child support and extra expenses, parents may familiarize themselves with the law. They may do so on-line (at a trusted website), at a law library, or by consulting with an attorney experienced in family law matters.

If parents cannot reach agreement regarding child support, a basic question is answered by reviewing how child support is calculated in New Jersey. Next, how are extracurricular and unreimbursed medical expenses for the child divided between the two parents? If there is an agreement already in place, what are the guidelines, if a modification or termination of support due to a change in circumstances is the issue?

Multitude of Options

There are many options for resolving issues of child support. The first is to reach out to a separated partner and discuss the issue without involving the children. Is it possible to reach an amicable resolution based on the facts and needs of all involved? If so, can this agreement be put in writing and signed? In the process of documenting an agreement, questions may arise. They can be discussed and more detail added to the agreement. The agreement can be drawn up in the form of a consent order and submitted to a court for filing.  The agreement may later be enforced by the Court.

Another option is mediation. If parents are unable to productively discuss child support, then a neutral third party may provide the detachment, or a “level playing field” if needed. A mediator would assist to clarify the facts, to communicate the viewpoints of each parent, and to assist the parents to reach an understanding regarding child support that best suits the children in consideration of the resources of the parents. This understanding would be converted into an order by an attorney and filed with the court.

Alternatively, a parent may need to resort to filing an application with the court, a motion. To accomplish this, parents could represent themselves or hire attorneys. A motion would request whatever relief is needed, and support a sworn certification with documentation, exhibits. The other parent would have a chance to file a response. Thereafter, the original filing parent would have an opportunity to comment. Depending on the county, the court listens to oral argument based upon the papers submitted. A judge then would enter an order based upon the papers and oral arguments.

Child support can appear complicated.  Knowledge of the law and court rules can assist greatly to resolve the issues. Oftentimes simple familiarity with the process helps resolve the issues.

The attorneys at Maleski Eisenhut & Zielinski, LLC are experienced mediators and have undergone court approved mediation training. Together, we can help you determine the best and most cost effective process and reach a just and fair resolution. For a consultation or more information please contact us online or call 908-237-9711.