Parents are often understandably afraid of losing custody or control over their children’s lives. The emotional and financial implications of divorce on children means child support and custody discussions are particularly stressful and difficult. There is also added uncertainty because judges get to weigh in and decide what is in the best interests of the children. We’ve compiled some of the most common questions clients have when they meet with us in order to help parents understand what is involved in child custody and child support decisions.
Do mothers always get custody, no matter what?
No. Each parent is equally entitled to custody of his/her children.
Can I relocate out-of-state with my child without filing an application with the court?
If you are the custodial parent of a child and the other parent has parenting time, you will have to file an application with the court if the other parent’s parenting time will be affected by the move. A non-custodial parent has the right to object to an out-of-state relocation and a court will have to determine whether the reasons for your move are in the child’s best interest and outweigh the other parent’s right to maintain his/her current parenting time schedule.
What if my spouse moves out of the country with our children and refuses to come back?
If the country that the child is in has adopted the Hague Abduction Convention, then you may be able to file an application for the return of the child here in New Jersey. The Hague Abduction Convention is a global treaty adopted by over 90 countries to ensure a method of returning kidnapped children to their home countries. If the country in which the child is in is not a signor of the Hague Abduction Convention, it may prove very difficult to have the child returned.
Will my spouse be able to stop paying child support when my children turn 18?
Possibly, yes. The age of 18 is normally the earliest that a parent can stop paying child support on behalf of a child. However, if the child attends college full-time, a parent obligated to pay child support will have to continue to pay support until either the child no longer attends college (i.e., the child drops out of school) or the child graduates.
Will I have to pay all of my children’s college expenses?
Not necessarily. New Jersey has a series of factors that it must consider when determining a parent’s obligation to pay for a child’s college expenses. After a review of those factors, a court may determine that a parent should be responsible for all, some or none of a child’s college related expenses.
If my spouse stops paying me child support, can I prevent him from seeing the children?
No. The law in New Jersey is very clear that financial issues cannot obstruct custody/parenting time issues and vice versa. Therefore, you cannot withhold a child from parenting time if a parent is not paying child support. Similarly, you cannot stop paying child support if the custodial parent does not allow you to see your children.
Do I have to pay taxes on child support?
Child support is not taxable to the payee and is not deductible to the payor. Therefore, if you receive child support, you will not have to pay taxes on it.
Child custody and child support involve complex determinations of the best interests of the child. Parties should consult a qualified attorney to ensure all factors have been considered by the court and discussed during any negotiations.
To request a consultation, please contact us today.