Child Custody & Support

New Jersey Family Law Attorneys

Child Custody

If you are going through a divorce and have children, one of the biggest decisions that will be made is who has custody. There are several different types of custody in New Jersey including temporary, joint, sole, and split. Temporary custody means that it is not permanent, but it is custody as you wait for a hearing. Joint custody may come in three different forms including: joint legal, meaning both parents have a say in the upbringing but the children only have one residence; shared physical, meaning the children have two residences and spend at least 35% of their time with the other parent; or combination custody, meaning a combination of legal and shared physical.

A New Jersey Family Court judge will look to a number of factors in determining what is in the best interests of the child(ren).

  • Physical Safety: the court will consider whether either parent poses a threat to the physical safety of the children. A court will consider if there have been episodes of domestic violence or abuse in the past.
  • Preference of the Child: depending on the child’s age and intellectual ability, a court may take into consideration the child’s preference concerning with whom they would like to live.
  • Quality and Continuity of Education
  • Fitness of Each Parent: The court will consider the employment responsibilities, financial capabilities, stability, and overall fitness as a parent, including the quality of the parent/child relationship.
  • Emotional Needs: this factor includes keeping siblings together, and the type of interaction the children have had with each parent. Geographic proximity to each parent’s home is also a factor.

New Jersey courts encourage parents to settle custody disputes on their own. Due to the emotional nature of divorce, this is not always possible. If you are going through a divorce and you have children, contact an attorney who is experienced in divorce proceedings and family law matters who can best advise you regarding your children’s and your best interests. The attorneys at Hunziker, Jones & Sweeney can help you reach the best possible resolution resolution regarding your child custody matters. Call (973) 256-0456 or fill out our contact form for a consultation.

Child Support

When it comes to child support, it is not just about money, but ensuring that your children have what they need to be happy and healthy. The New Jersey courts enforce the financial duties of both parents and take seriously the premise that children should not be “victims of divorce or out-of-wedlock birth.” Although the custodial parent has custody of the children, the noncustodial parent still has a financial obligation and responsibility to them under New Jersey law.

In calculating payments, the court will consider the amount of time spent parenting, and the gross income. Gross income includes bonuses, property gains, annuities, life insurance, SSDI, Workers’ Compensation, overtime, alimony, gambling winnings, investments, income tax rebates, etc. Due a change in the New Jersey law in 1990, court ordered child support and child support arrears is exempt from the state prohibition on wage garnishment to collect a debt.

In the event that the non-custodial parent fails to pay child support, the court may enforce such debt in a number of ways including withholding of income, seizure of assets, suspension of license, denial of passport, settlement, warrants, or court enforcements, among other methods.

Child support generally covers shelter, food, and transportation in addition to clothing, entertainment, and other miscellaneous provisions. A court will consider whether non-recurring costs should be included in a child support award. Child support may always be modified upward or downward if there is a change in circumstances regarding the needs of the child.

If you have questions about child support, contact a skilled attorney who can advise you regarding family law matters. The attorneys at Hunziker, Jones, and Sweeney are experienced in all child support matters. Call (973) 256-0456 or fill out our contact form for a consultation.