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NJ Makes Critical Child Support Decision – Obligation Starts at Divorce Filing

By Snyder & Sarno on October 21, 2015

Last week, the Judiciary Committee on Opinions approved Kakstys v. Stevens, a trial court case, for publication.  The case addressed “the retroactive establishment of an initial child support obligation in a divorce proceeding.”  

In determining the effective date for child support obligations, the court considered two options – whether the date is retroactively set:

1.      As of the filing date of a child support motion, or

2.      As of the filing date of the divorce complaint (prior to the child support motion).

Since there is often a significant amount of time between filing for divorce and filing for child support, the court’s determination here can make a big financial difference. 

Ultimately, the court held that a child support obligation could retroactively begin at the filing of divorce, regardless of when (or even if) a child support motion was filed.  Despite New Jersey’s “anti-retroactivity” statute (N.J.S.A 2A:17-56.23a), the court determined after a close reading that the statute only applies to modifications of existing support obligations.  The issue here is only in regards to an initial support order.  However, the court also held that the individual paying child support could be entitled to equitable credits for any payments made on behalf of the child prior to the establishment of the child support obligation.

If you are going through a divorce or have an issue with child support or alimony, contact the skilled attorneys at Snyder & Sarno, LLC.  The lawyers at Snyder & Sarno are experienced in handling cases in which the parties share children.  Call us today at (973) 274-5200.

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