How is Child Support Calculated in New Jersey?

When a couple divorces or otherwise separates, it is common for a child to live with one parent most of the time and spend certain specified time periods with the other parent. In this scenario, the primary custodial parent may be entitled to financial support for the child from the other parent. If you find yourself on either side of this situation, you should be aware of the rules for calculating child support under New Jersey law.

Both parents have a duty to financially support their child; if the parents are married and living together, they presumably would combine their incomes and resources in order to support their child. In accordance with this concept, New Jersey law uses an income shares model , or the combined net incomes of the parents, in determining what amount of child support is appropriate in a particular case. The court first will determine each parent’s gross income, which generally includes income from most sources, including wages, salary, tips, unemployment benefits, disability benefits, workers’ compensation benefits, and even gambling winnings. The court then deducts certain necessary expenses from each parent’s gross income, such as taxes, alimony, and other child support payments, in order to arrive at each parent’s net income. The court then uses the appropriate schedule of child support awards and child support guidelines worksheet in order to determine a parent’s child support obligation. Ultimately, every child support award takes into account the average amounts that a parent spends on a child’s basic financial needs, the number of children in the family, each parent’s net income, and the amount of parenting time that the noncustodial parent spends with the child.

In addition to a parent’s base child support obligation, there are other child-related expenses that a court must consider in arriving at a final child support award. These expenses include things like work-related child care costs, health insurance premiums, and the costs of transportation for the purposes of parenting time. If a court determines that a certain expense is necessary, then the parties can include that expense in the child support calculation before a final amount of support is determined.

Calculating child support is not always as easy as it might initially seem, particularly in families with complex earnings or other unique situations. Whether your case involves the calculation of child support or another family law-related matter, our New Jersey family law attorneys can guide you through every step of the proceedings necessary to resolving your legal matter. Our role is to be here to answer all of your questions, calm your concerns, present your potential options, and help you to make any necessary decisions. At Argentino Family Law & Advocacy, LLC, we have represented the interests of countless families and children in all types of family law proceedings. Contact our office today at (973) 868-0958 or by e-mail at info@argentinolaw.com and set up a time to talk with us about your case.

World AIDS Day

World AIDS Day has taken place annually on December 1st since 1988, when it was established as the first global health day in history. The purpose of World AIDS Day is to support individuals diagnosed with HIV, as well as to celebrate the lives of those individuals who have died from an AIDS-related illness. This year’s theme is Increasing Impact through Transparency, Accountability, and Partnerships.

The AIDS virus, which researchers identified in 1984, already has claimed the lives of more than 35 million people. Globally, there are currently 36.7 million individuals who are living with HIV. About 1.1 million of those individuals live in the United States, and about one in seven don’t even know that they have HIV. Although AIDS initially was considered to be a disease that affected only the gay community and intravenous drug users, that is simply no longer the case. While AIDS continues to disproportionately affect the male gay and bisexual populations, many heterosexual individuals also have HIV.

Given the widespread impact of the AIDS virus on people across the world in a relatively short period of time, it is essential that we recognize the continued need to raise money for research, combat discrimination, and educate individuals in all countries worldwide. While many advances in education, research, and knowledge have occurred with respect to HIV since 1984, there still remains significant work that is necessary to continue fighting HIV and ensuring that those with HIV suffer no discrimination.

At Argentino Family Law & Child Advocacy, LLC, we recognize World AIDS Day so that the government and members of the public across the state of New Jersey will continue to promote HIV awareness, support research projects, and educate the public across the state of New Jersey. Since our daily work deals with families and relationships, we are cognizant of the fact that HIV affects many individuals with whom we come into contact, as well as the LGBTQ community at large.

Should you need assistance with any family law-related matter, we are here to help and give you the advice that you need. Contact our office by e-mailing us at info@argentinolaw.com or call us at (973) 868-0958 to schedule an appointment with one of our experienced family law attorneys today.

How Does A Civil Union Affect Adoption?

In response to a ruling by the New Jersey Supreme Court in 2006, the New Jersey legislature created civil unions to give same-sex partners the legal rights that different-sex partners enjoy as a result of their marriage. For example, partners in a civil union can cover each other on health insurance, file joint New Jersey tax returns, and have the same access to medical facilities and right to make medical decisions for one another as married couples.

If both parents had legal parental rights to their child (via adoption) prior to entering into the civil union, then the civil union will not change those rights. Both parents would have equal rights to the care and custody of the child, in the absence of a court order to the contrary. However, if one parent did not have a legal parental status with respect to the child prior to the civil union, the only change a civil union will make for that parent is that New Jersey law will recognize him or her as a stepparent. While, this status still does give the parent legal parental rights, it allows for the party to use the stepparent clause under the adoption statute to complete a confirmatory adoption and allows the Court to waive any home study requirement.  The adoption decree will give that parent full legal parental rights and stand independently as a legal document carrying certain rights and responsibilities.

On other hand, if you enter into a civil union in the state of New Jersey, and your partner later gives birth to a child, the law presumes that you are a legal parent of the child, based on the fact that you are in a civil union with the parent who gave birth to the child. This is an extension of the marital presumption under New Jersey law that the spouse of a woman gives birth is the legal parent of that child. Keep in mind, however, that a legal presumption does not carry the same weight as a court order, especially in states that may not recognize your civil union.. Again, the only secure way to protect yourself and your child and ensure the portability of parentage rights is to obtain a Judgment of adoption.

The intersection between civil unions and adoptions can be very complex, so you will need to consult a New Jersey family law attorney about your rights and obligations under New Jersey law. We are here to help you make the decisions in your case that will best benefit you and your family in your legal matter. We are here to answer your questions, ease your mind, and help guide you through what is likely to be a difficult proceeding. At Argentino Family Law & Child Advocacy, LLC, we handle many legal matters that relate to families and children. Contact our office today and see how we can assist you with your New Jersey divorce and spousal support case.

How Is Mental Health Related to Alimony and Property Distribution in a Divorce Case?

In a New Jersey divorce, the mental health of each party is relevant in a number of different ways. For example, a party’s mental health can impact whether there is an alimony award in a divorce case. Mental health also may be a factor in property distribution that occurs during a New Jersey divorce.

Whether a court will order a spouse to pay alimony to the other spouse, as well as the amount and duration of any alimony award, depends on a number of different factors set forth under New Jersey law. According to N.J. Stat. 2A:34-23(b)(3), one of the criteria that the court must consider in ordering alimony includes “the age, physical and emotional health of the parties.” This means that if a spouse is emotionally or mentally incapacitated to the extent that he or she cannot work, then the court may decide that the spouse must receive alimony in order to support himself or herself. On the other hand, if the spouse is mentally incapacitated, he or she also may not be ordered to pay alimony to the other spouse, simply because he or she is unable to work or earn a sufficient income in order to do so. The mental incapacity of a spouse also may constitute exceptional circumstances that justify an adjustment of the duration of support. N.J. Stat. 2A:34-23(c)(3).

In a New Jersey divorce, the parties are entitled to an equitable division of their assets. Keep in mind that “equitable” does not necessarily mean “equal.” In other words, a court may find that based on the parties’ circumstances, one spouse should receive more than half of the marital property. For instance, a court can consider the parties’ physical and emotional health in making a property distribution. N.J. Stat. 2A:34-23.1. The court could award more of the assets to a mentally ill spouse if the assets are necessary to providing for that spouse’s basic needs.

Mental health issues are never easy, and when combined with the stress of a divorce case, you quickly can feel overwhelmed. During times like these, it is hard to make the decisions that are truly best for you and your family, particularly when it comes to emotionally-charged issues like mental health and divorce. It is in these kinds of cases that a New Jersey family lawyer can be most useful to you and truly make a difference in the outcome of your case. Visit our website at http://argentinolaw.com. You also can email us at info@argentinolaw.com, and one of our staff members will get back to you right away.

Is Drug Addiction a Ground for Divorce?

New Jersey law provides for both no-fault divorce and fault-based divorce. In a no-fault divorce, the reason for the divorce is often referred to as “irreconcilable differences.” This means that the parties simply can no longer live together and don’t want to continue their marriage, for whatever reason. On the other hand, there are specific grounds or reasons that form the basis for the “fault” divorce. The spouse who has filed for divorce based on a certain ground must produce evidence proving that ground. One such ground is drug and/or alcohol addiction. N.J.Stat.2A: 34-2.

In order to get divorced in the state of New Jersey due to drug addiction, you must prove that your spouse’s drug addiction has lasted for at least one year or more. The addiction must be continuous and significant enough to damage the marriage beyond repair. The only proof necessary for this divorce ground is that your spouse’s addiction actually existed. Even if your spouse seeks treatment at some point during your marriage, you may still be able to get divorced based on the ground of drug addiction.

In addition to providing evidence of drug addiction, you must meet the other requirements for getting divorced in the state of New Jersey. For example, one spouse must have lived in New Jersey for at least one year before filing for divorce. N.J.Stat.2A:34-10. If neither you nor your spouse meets this requirement, then you either will have to wait until one of you does meet the residency requirement, or look into getting divorced in another state, where the residency requirements may differ.

The attorneys of Argentino Family Law & Child Advocacy, LLC , know how stressful, emotional, and complex legal proceedings can be, from divorce and child custody to parentage and adoption. If you are looking for help with a legal matter involving families or children, you need the advice and guidance of one of our attorneys. Contact our office today to set up a meeting with an experienced lawyer at Argentino Family Law & Child Advocacy, LLC, and learn how we can help you with your legal case.