Any time the parents of a child or children divorce, part of their divorce settlement agreement will be a child support component. Child support is determined using a strict set of guidelines provided by the state of New Jersey, and exact payment determinations vary on the income levels of both parents, how much time each parent spends with the child, the age and needs of the child, and many other factors, all of which you can look at here.
Once the exact support obligations have been determined, the parents and their Union County child support attorneys will also need to decide exactly how payments will be made. Payments can either be made directly from the supporting parent to the parent receiving child support, or can be made through what is known as the New Jersey Child Support Probation Department. Arranging for child support payments through the probation department has its pros and cons for both parties, which we will discuss below.
The Benefits of Paying Child Support Through the Probation Department
There are many benefits to paying and receiving child support through the probation department rather than directly between the divorced parents.
- Record of Payments – The probation office will keep a record of every payment made, so if there is ever a dispute regarding payment amounts of dates, the probation office will be able to supply financial records in order to resolve the dispute.
- Neutral Third Party – Many divorces can end in hard-feelings and strained relationships. By paying child support through the probation department, divorced parents can limit the necessity for contact greatly, and also avoid making the child “the messenger”.
- Enforcement of Payments – The Probation Department also has the authority to automatically take action in order to enforcement child support payments, rather than the supported party having to file a motion with the courts. Actions such as seizing tax refunds, suspending driver’s licenses and passport renewals, and the issuing of an arrest warrant can and will automatically be taken in the event that regular child support payments are not made.
There are also two different methods for arranging payment through the Probation Department. The default method is via wage garnishment, where payment will be taken directly from the supporting party’s paycheck. Should the parties agree, it is also possible for the supporting party to pay their child support obligations directly to the Probation Department without wage garnishment.
The Disadvantages to Paying Child Support through the Probation Department
There are also, of course, disadvantages to paying and receiving child support through the probation department.
- Lost Privacy – If child support obligors (the supporting party) pay child support via wage garnishment, your employer will know that you are paying child support, and the amount of support paid. While employers are legally prohibited from firing employees due to wage garnishment, there is certainly a deal of privacy lost in this scenario.
- Child Emancipation – Child emancipation refers to the time when children are no longer financially dependent on their parents, and laws regarding when this is determined are constantly changing. The Probation Department will continue to require child support payments to be made even if your child has become emancipated, and the only way to stop payments is through a court order or a preexisting agreement with your ex regarding when your child will become emancipated.
Union County Child Support Attorney Helps You Choose the Best Arrangement
When deciding which method of child support payment is best for you, it is highly recommended that you consult with an experienced Union County child support attorney. While their is very limited room for negotiation when it comes to exact payment amounts to be made, your attorney can help you negotiate for the payment method that works best for you.
At The Law Office of Edward S. Cooper, we have extensive experience helping clients across Linden, Elizabeth, Summit, Union, and Union County with all manner of divorce issues, including child support. Attorney Edward Cooper strives to work closely with all of his clients, provide them with attentive and effective legal service, and keep them informed and involved throughout the legal process.