Child Custody & Child Support
The dissolution of any marriage or partnership raises a whole host of issues. When children are involved, the resulting issues are even more complex as custody and child support issues come to the forefront. To ensure that a fair arrangement, based upon the children’s best interests, is reached, you should contact a knowledgeable family lawyer.
My firm routinely handles child custody cases and can help to determine the best custody arrangement for you and your children. We will review the case, identify the children’s preferences and explain how local and state laws impact your specific case and family situation. Considering these factors, we will work with you to devise a plan of custody for your children.
Child custody is dual faceted in that it encompasses both the physical and legal custody of the child. Physical custody is where the child resides while legal custody entails the decision-making process for the parents including the right to decide education preferences, religious practices, medical treatments and activity involvement. Both of these aspects must be considered during child custody proceedings.
We will work with you to achieve the best possible outcome while preserving your parental rights and protecting your children’s best interests.
Child Custody Litigation Attorney
Thomas King is no stranger to the emotional upheaval and devastation that can occur during a divorce, especially when there are children, and where the issue of custody is involved. In cases when child custody is a point of contention between spouses, parents often have a number of fears and concerns, ranging from apprehension about spending time with their child on someone else’s terms, to concern that they may not be able to see their child at all. These fears and concerns can be addressed and the chances of success in these cases significantly increased by the representation of a lawyer seasoned in child custody cases.
There are various types of custody arrangements available to parents in New Jersey. “Legal custody” often refers to the right of parents to make decisions for the child. Physical custody refers to the party with whom a child will reside. Joint custody usually allows both parents to be involved in important parenting decisions regarding such things as education and medical care. It also allows for less important decisions to be made by the parent that is responsible for the child’s care at the time. Sole custody only allows for one parent to make important decisions. The parent who does not have physical custody of a child is usually entitled to visitation, now referred to as “parenting time.”
Child custody issues are not always easily resolved. While the courts allow parents to use alternative dispute resolution or to make independent decisions about the custody of their child, some are unable to do so, leading to contested child custody litigation. In such a case, the courts must become involved in a custody determination. Custody matters are decided using the best interests of the child standard. This standard is very vague and can include a variety of factors to be considered by the court. Some of these factors include:
- the parents’ ability to agree, communicate and cooperate in matters relating to the child;
- the parents’ willingness to accept custody and any history of unwillingness to allow parenting time not based on substantiated abuse;
- the interaction and relationship of the child with its parents and siblings;
- the history of domestic violence, if any;
- the safety of the child and the safety of either parent from physical abuse by the other parent;
- the preference of the child when of sufficient age and capacity to reason so as to form an intelligent decision;
- the needs of the child;
- the stability of the home environment offered;
- the quality and continuity of the child’s education;
- the fitness of the parents;
- the geographical proximity of the parents’ homes;
- the extent and quality of the time spent with the child prior to or subsequent to the separation;
- the parents’ employment responsibilities;
- and the age and number of the children.
The factors considered by the court are unique to each case and the judge in each case is allowed to consider any factor he or she believes is appropriate in determining child custody. One limitation on this discretion is that the courts cannot place a child with a parent who presents a substantial risk of harm to the child.
If you are currently involved in a child custody dispute, or about to become involved in such a case, it is crucial that you seek the representation of a veteran family law attorney.
Child Support and Spousal Support Litigation Attorney
For years Thomas King, Esq., has provided aggressive representation and sound legal counsel to individuals and families in Northern New Jersey. He litigates on behalf of his clients in a wide array of matrimonial cases in areas such as equitable distribution, child custody, child and spousal support. Helping individuals through divorce, Thomas King understands that the decision to dissolve a marriage is never an easy one and the process of ending the union can be complex. Generally speaking, when faced with a divorce, there may be a number of financial issues to be concerned about. If children resulted from the marriage, child support payments are usually a serious consideration. If one spouse is unable to financially support him or herself, the issue of maintenance may be present.
Child support is the financial assistance parents are obligated to provide to their children until they reach a certain age. When the parents are no longer together, the non-custodial parent has a duty to pay the custodial parent child support. This can be in the form of cash, the payment for medical insurance or even for child care. Up to a certain point, child support is calculated using a rigid formula provided by New Jersey State Law and is based on the income of each spouse. In order to asses each parent’s respective financial situation, both are required to provide the court with a Case Information Statement (CIS). It is in the parties’ best interests to secure the representation of counsel in the initial proceedings.
These cases are not always cut and dry. If there are arguable issues in the initial proceedings or the case needs to be litigated in order to modify or enforce a child support order, it is imperative to secure the representation of a seasoned matrimonial litigator, such as Thomas King.
Each year millions of parents across the country seek judicial intervention in child support matters. Courts generally adhere to an objective process when determining the proper child support amount. Whether you are a single parent seeking child support or a non-custodial parent with questions about your current support order, our family law attorneys can help to ensure that your children receive the necessary financial support congruent with your income as well as ex-partner’s earnings.
Calculation of Child Support
Child support calculation is generally based upon a number of financial factors pertaining to both parties. Our knowledgeable legal team will help you compile your financial information as well as ascertain the other parent’s current situation in order to make certain your support obligation is fair in light of both party’s monthly income and lifestyle. Factors commonly considered by family court judges include:
- Monthly employment income (minus alimony or other child support obligations)
- Childcare expenses deducted from your paycheck (e.g., health insurance)
- Additional medical expenses for the child
- Each parent’s contribution to extra-curricular expenses
- Costs of daycare or private school tuition
- Number of children involved in the action
- Number of dependents of either party not involved in the action
- Modifying a Current Child Support Order
If you already have a child support order in place, you may be in need of a modification of the monthly obligation. In general, a court may modify a child support order if it finds the financial status of either party has substantially changed and the current support obligation is no longer fair. For instance, if the parent paying support suddenly becomes disabled and is no longer able to work, the court will likely consider reducing his support obligation to meet his current income level. Conversely, if either parent experiences a sudden increase in monthly income, the court may decide to adjust the monthly support amount accordingly. If you require a modification to your child support order, our attorneys will help your compile the requisite financial documentation and present your case presentation to the judge in the proceeding.
Whether you are the obligor or obligee, our family law firm can work with you to obtain a child support amount that reflects the best interests of your children. If you are having difficulty meeting your monthly support obligation or believe your child’s parent is able to pay more than the amount in the current order, our attorneys will work diligently to achieve a modification of support on your behalf. To speak with one of our reputable family lawyers about your child support matter, contact us today.