Pay up! Child Support Enforcement
By Snyder & Sarno on January 06, 2014
Once a child support order is entered in New Jersey, the person ordered to make the payments (obligor) is obligated to do so until the child is emancipated. If the obligor encounters a decrease in income, for instance by losing his or her job, then the obligor can file for a modification of the order to reduce his or her obligation. However, until the obligor files for the modification and the court enters an order reducing his or her obligation, he or she is still required to make the child support payments previously ordered by the court, and any reduction that is later ordered will likely apply retroactive to the date the application was filed. Except in extremely limited circumstances, the modification will never apply retroactive to the filing of the application.
When an obligor parent falls behind on support payments, there are many remedies that the parent receiving the child support (obligee) can seek in order to enforce the payment of the money owed as well as future child support payments. These remedies are delineated in Rule 5:3-7(b).
The first two remedies listed in the Rule are “fixing the amount of arrearages and entering judgment upon which interest accrues,” and “requiring payment of arrearages on a periodic basis.” Arrearages are the amount of money that is owed to the obligee parent because the obligor parent has not been making his or her child support payments. Under these sections of the Rule, the court will determine how much money is owed and order that the arrears be paid in installments on top of the previously existing child support amount.
The other remedies are a bit more serious and include suspending the obligor’s occupational or driver’s license, economic sanctions, requiring the obligor parent to participate in a community service program, incarceration, issuing a warrant that will be executed upon further violation of the order, and any other equitable remedy.
If you have not been receiving your child support payments, you should speak with an experienced family lawyer who will be able to assist you in seeking enforcement of your child support order from the family court and who will be able to help you decide what kind of enforcement to seek.
If you have questions or concerns about your child support order, please contact Snyder & Sarno, at (973) 274-5200.
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