Google and other search engines have become go to places for answers to just about any questions people in New Jersey and elsewhere might have. Unfortunately, not all online information is fact-checked. Child support is one subject about which online articles often contain myths that could cause problems for those who use the information without confirming its validity.
One myth suggests that child support is the responsibility of only one parent. While the person obligated to make the support payments might believe this, it is not correct. Family courts base child support orders on the income of both parents. The day-to-day care provided by the custodial parents must not be overlooked because that is a significant responsibility, and it indeed features in the court’s calculations to determine the amount of support the noncustodial parent must pay.
Another myth that, if relied upon, could land people in jail is the one that says unemployed noncustodial parents need not pay child support. Regardless of a person’s circumstances, once a court order is issued to pay child support, that amount must be paid. Missing payments or stopping obligated payments altogether can have severe consequences. It could lead to a driver’s license revocation, wage garnishment, penalties and fines, and even time behind bars.
Noncustodial parents in New Jersey who are facing hard times after job loss or health problems will likely achieve better results by consulting an experienced family law attorney instead of relying on Google or another search engine. A lawyer can assess the circumstances and review all available options. One option might be to petition the court to modify the child support order so as to defer payment for a specific period or to lower the order to an amount that is affordable for the parent who is struggling financially.