The purpose of child support is to ensure that the financial needs of your children are being met by you and your soon-to-be ex-spouse.
But it's important that you understand that child support is about more than just money.
Many parents think the purpose of child support is to make sure they have enough money after they’re divorced to pay for the items their kids need.
But that’s only partially correct.
Divorce is hard on your children. The fighting and the stress you’re going through can really take a toll on them.
Soon you will no longer be husband and wife, but you’ll always be mom and dad.
Child support shows your kids you still love them and care about their well-being.
NJ has three main principles behind its Child Support Guidelines:
Child support is a continuous obligation of both parents as the children belong to both of them; and
Children are entitled to share in the current income of both parents and not simply the parent who has custody; and
Children should not become the economic victims of divorce.
When it comes to New Jersey child support, it is pretty clear that you and your spouse must remain as responsible for your children financially after you're divorced as you were while you were married.
There are a few things you need to know about the challenges of determining child support in NJ:
While there is a child support guideline, it only represents the minimum, it doesn’t include all the expenses required to raise a child, and it isn’t applicable in all situations.
Due to the global pandemic in 2020, income was impacted for millions of individuals, with economic uncertainty likely to continue well into 2021.
Due to the Covid-19 Relief Bill, the Child Tax Credit was increased from $2,000 per child to $3,000 per child, but only for 2021. Because of this, the amount of child support you agree to pay or receive in 2021 may be different than in 2022, and beyond.
The Child Tax Credit is now refundable for people who have no income, and may now benefit both parties. Whereas in the past, it may have only benefitted one. This complicates conversations around who will claim the children on their tax return for tax year 2021.
Not only has the maximum Child Care Credit been increased in both percentage and dollar amount, but unlike years before, if you don't owe any tax, you can still receive a payment from the government of up to $8,000 depending on expenses incurred.
There is talk of Congress extending these changes and making them permanent. But if you’re getting divorced in 2021, you need to decide now, how (or if) these changes will impact the determination of child support in future years.
This topic has less to do with child support laws or payments and more to do with money, negotiation and doing what’s in the best interest of your kids.
There is more than meets the eye on this issue and in the majority of cases, this subject is much too complex for you to try to resolve on your own.
That's why you will get the best result by mediating with us.
"Most parents think the child support guidelines output a specific dollar amount and that’s that. But the reality is the guidelines are just a starting point for negotiations.
Plus there are a lot of expenses not covered by the basic child support amount.
That's why the best way to come to a fair agreement and ensure your children get the financial support they need is to work with an experienced mediator like me."
Using our extensive financial knowledge into the complex matters of child support in NJ, we’ll help you and your spouse determine a child support amount that accurately reflects your lives as parents and the specialized needs of your children.
One that covers all ordinary, extraordinary and future expenses.
We’ll talk about who your children are, what they like to do and what it will take to make sure they’re getting what they need and deserve. Not just what the formula says you have to pay so they can “get by.”
We’ll work through specialized cases like joint custody child support in which you share in the parenting time and care of your children equally. As joint custody child support has its own unique method for determination. We’ll also explore arrangements in which the children spend a majority of their time with one parent as this, too, has its own special approach.
We’ll help you negotiate any issues of disagreement and create an agreement you both find fair and equitable regarding the support of your children.
We’ll also make sure you and your spouse not only come to an agreement that you both find to be fair, but also one that minimizes tax issues, avoids penalties and improves cash flow whenever possible.
Because no two situations are alike.
Your children are unique and your child support agreement should reflect that, too.
Equitable Mediation can help you prevent your children from becoming economic victims of your divorce.
Why be forced to accept a settlement created by a family law attorney or judge in court when you can have a direct say in creating an agreement that works for your children now and into the future instead?
If you want your divorce to be fair and equitable, and you want to make decisions as parents, not as litigants, do what’s best for your kids and mediate your divorce with Equitable Mediation.
If you and your spouse have both agreed to divorce and want to mediate, take the next step and book an initial meeting for the two of you.
Joe Dillon, MBA is a professional divorce mediator and founder of Equitable Mediation Services. Joe is passionate about helping couples avoid the destruction of attorney-driven litigation and specializes in helping couples resolve the issues required for divorce -peacefully, fairly and cost-effectively. When he’s not mediating, you can find him exercising, cooking, and watching Cubs baseball.
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