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Child Support Hearings

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Child support is the amount of money that a noncustodial parent has to provide to the parent that has custody of their child. This money serves as the noncustodial parent’s appropriate contribution for the child’s basic living expenses, including expenses for food, healthcare, clothing, education, shelter, and other necessities.

If parents are in agreement over the amount of child support based on guidelines established by the New Jersey Courts, they may enter into a written consent support agreement which will be made part of the family court’s support order. However, if one parent does not agree on the child support amount, or there are other outstanding issues regarding divorce or custody, then there may need to be a hearing with the family court. Additionally, if there is an allegation that a noncustodial parent is behind on child support payments, then an enforcement hearing may be scheduled, which the noncustodial parent is required to attend.

If you are facing a child support dispute in Jersey City, you should reach out to an experienced Jersey City child support lawyer. Bhatt Law Group has years of experience working with families to establish child support that is in the best interests of the child.

Call us today at (201) 798-8000 to find out how we can help you.

Enforcement Hearings

Child support payments must be made regularly, and if a noncustodial parent fails to make ordered payments, then the court’s probation division will help the custodial parent receive the amount owed by filing a motion with the family court. The court will send a notice to the noncustodial parent to appear for an enforcement hearing. During the hearing, a court will hear evidence regarding the non-payment allegations and may consider the following information:

  • The noncustodial parent’s prior compliance with the child support order over a period of time
  • The amount of unpaid obligations
  • Whether or not payments have been received
  • Whether or not there is a pending motion for modification of child support
  • The cause of any known delays in posting payments
  • The enforcement history of the child support agreement
  • The existing means of payment, e.g., wage garnishment, income withholding, etc.
  • Any other relevant information

At the enforcement hearing, the noncustodial parent will be asked to respond to the probation division’s allegations in its motion. The court will then allow the noncustodial parent to present any defenses. The court must consider these defenses as well as the noncustodial parent’s actual ability to pay.

If the court finds that payments are owed, then it will likely issue an order for additional payments or for the parent to make periodic payments to gradually pay off the unpaid amount owed. The court may also state that it will issue a bench warrant for any future missed payments.

Arrest for Nonpayment and Ability to Pay Hearings

If a court determines that a substantial amount of child support is owed, it may issue an arrest warrant. If the noncustodial parent is arrested and jailed, then the court will quickly schedule a hearing to assess their ability to pay. During this hearing, the noncustodial parent has to provide clear and convincing evidence that they do not have the ability to pay. During such a hearing, the parent may present evidence that the court does not have complete information regarding income or that there is a change in circumstances causing an inability to pay child support.

However, if the court determines that the parent has the ability to pay, then it may order that they are to be incarcerated until payment of the missed amount or a significant portion thereof, usually called the “purge” or “release” amount. This means that the court will only release the parent upon payment of the set amount of the missed child support payments. Once paid, the court will release the parent and set a payment plan for the remaining unpaid amount. Failure to pay may result in the issuance of a new arrest warrant.

How a Jersey City Child Support Lawyer Can Help

If you are facing a child support dispute or enforcement, you need an experienced Jersey City child support lawyer to advocate for your interests and rights. Bhatt Law Group has experienced family law attorneys with years of combined experience helping people with their child support issues.

Call us today to speak with one of our experienced attorneys by calling (201) 798-8000 for an initial consultation.