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South Jersey Child Support Arrears: What If My Ex Owes After Our Child’s 18th Birthday?

South Jersey Child Support Arrears: What If My Ex Owes After Our Child’s 18th Birthday?

Navigating the intricacies of child support can be complex and often misunderstood, especially when children transition into adulthood. In South Jersey, many parents find themselves grappling with the issue of unpaid child support beyond their child’s 18th birthday. This can create a myriad of emotional and financial difficulties. At Cordry Hartman, LLC, our seasoned family law attorneys specialize in addressing the nuances of child support issues, offering personalized guidance to parents grappling with these challenges. This article is designed to shed light on the legal landscape surrounding outstanding child support matters after their child turns 18, ensuring parents are well-informed and prepared to take the necessary legal steps.

Understanding Child Support Laws in South Jersey

Child support laws in New Jersey dictate that the age when child support typically ends is 19, not 18 as commonly believed. This common misconception often leaves many unprepared. It is important to understand that there are situations where financial support may continue beyond this age, though it must not exceed the child’s 23rd birthday. These extensions might occur due to the child’s enrollment in college, vocational training, physical or mental disabilities, or other exceptional circumstances. In New Jersey these laws are uniformly applied, but individual court interpretations and decisions can vary. Understanding these nuances is crucial for parents in South Jersey dealing with back child support issues.

The Challenges of Collecting Back Child Support

Collecting overdue child support is a multifaceted challenge. Custodial parents often face not just logistical hurdles but also significant emotional toll and financial insecurity. The ripple effect of these overdue payments, also called arrears, can be significant, impacting not just the family and child’s well-being, but many times, also affecting the broader community. While there are legal processes available to address these arrears, they require a nuanced understanding of New Jersey’s child support system and family law.

Legal Options and Strategies

Navigating the collection of back child support in South Jersey requires a well-considered legal approach. Parents have multiple options:

  • Enforcement of Existing Orders: The most direct approach is to enforce the existing child support order. This can be done by filing a motion with the court that issued the original order. The court may then take various actions, such as wage garnishment, seizure of tax refunds, or even contempt proceedings against the non-compliant parent.
  • Modification of Child Support Orders: In cases where the child’s needs or the financial circumstances of either parent have significantly changed, it may be appropriate to file for a modification of the child support order. This could lead to an increase in the amount of support due or an extension of the support period.
  • Negotiation and Settlement: Sometimes, it may be beneficial to negotiate directly with the non-custodial parent for a lump-sum payment or a revised payment plan. Such agreements should always be formalized through court orders to ensure enforceability.

Our approach at Cordry Hartman, LLC, involves a detailed review of existing orders, financial circumstances, and a strategy tailored to meet our clients’ goals and legal rights.

The Process of Claiming Back Child Support

Claiming back child support involves several key steps:

  • Documentation: Gather all relevant documents, including the original child support order, detailed records of payments made and missed, and any communication with the non-custodial parent regarding child support.
  • Filing a Motion: File a motion for enforcement with the family court that issued the original child support order. This motion should detail the amount of support owed and provide evidence of non-payment.
  • Court Proceedings: Be prepared for potential court proceedings. The court may schedule a hearing to review the case, during which both parents can present their arguments.
  • Enforcement Actions: If the court finds that back child support is owed, it may take enforcement actions such as wage garnishment, placing liens on property, or seizing bank accounts.
  • Alternative Dispute Resolution: Consider mediation or other forms of dispute resolution as an alternative to traditional court proceedings. This can often lead to a faster and less adversarial resolution.

In these matters, legal representation is not just beneficial; it’s a vital component of ensuring your rights and your child’s rights and interests are protected.

Preparing for a Legal Consultation

When preparing for a legal consultation about back child support, thorough preparation is key. Here are some steps to ensure you are well-prepared:

  • Obtain a copy of the original child support order, a foundational document for any child support discussions.
  • Compile detailed records of child support payments received and any missed, including bank statements, check copies, or any official records of transactions. 
  • If you have any written communication with the non-custodial parent regarding child support payments, including emails, texts, letters, bring these as they can provide context.
  • Current financial statements, tax returns, and any other documents showing your financial situation and that of your child can be crucial.
  • Prepare a list of specific questions you have about the back child support situation. This might include questions about the legal process, expected timeframes, or potential outcomes.
  • Note down any significant changes in your child’s needs or your financial situation since the original child support order was established.
  • Consider what you hope to achieve through legal action – whether it’s receiving the full amount of back child support, negotiating a payment plan, or modifying the original order.
  • Identify any immediate concerns, such as financial hardships or the need for a swift resolution, and be ready to discuss these with the attorney. 
  • Think about how the back child support issue fits into the broader context of your child’s wellbeing and your co-parenting relationship. Are there broader issues that need to be addressed? 

Contact South Jersey Family Law Attorneys Cordry Hartman, LLC Today to Schedule a Confidential Consultation About Your Child Support Case

At Cordry Hartman, LLC, we understand the complexities and sensitivities surrounding child support matters in New Jersey. Our dedicated team of family law attorneys specializes in navigating the intricate landscape of child support laws to ensure that your and your child’s rights are protected and upheld. Whether you’re facing challenges with unpaid child support arrears, seeking modifications to existing orders, or need guidance through the enforcement process, we’re here to provide expert legal support and compassionate advocacy.

Our approach is tailored to each client’s unique situation, combining thorough legal expertise with a deep understanding of the emotional nuances involved in family law cases. We’re committed to achieving the best possible outcomes for our clients, ensuring that your child receives the support they deserve and that your family’s future is secure.

Don’t let the burden of unresolved child support issues weigh you down. Contact us today to schedule a confidential consultation. Let us help you navigate the legal process with confidence and ease, turning challenges into solutions and securing the support your child needs for a brighter tomorrow.