CORONAVIRUS FAMILY LAW DISPUTES

Coronavirus Family Law DisputesI have already fought for many clients involved in coronavirus pandemic parenting time disputes. Those disputes are emotional. There are three important documents to keep in mind:

  1. New Jersey Statute 9:2-4 provides that it is the public policy of New Jersey for children to have “frequent and continuing contact” with both parents in separation and divorce situations.
  2. Court Orders as to parenting time are valid and enforceable, even during a pandemic.
  3. Governor Murphy’s Executive Order 107, which generally requires most people to stay at home, specifically exempts “visiting family members as a caretaker”.

I will not let a parent use the coronavirus to deny my client his or her court-ordered time with a child.

That said, both parents must comply with the Governor’s ordered precautions (e.g., social distancing, hand-washing) while he or she has care of a child. Do not give the other parent an excuse to withhold the child (e.g., Facebook post of parent and child at a crowded gathering).

When one parent is ultra-cautious, and the other less so, I work to try to find a fair and reasonable middle ground, as in any other dispute.

There are economic coronavirus disputes as well, e.g., payment of child support and/or alimony when the payor has been laid off or furloughed and dividing the stimulus checks for the child.

Contact me for help.

How Does New Jersey Define “Best Interests of the Child”?

How Does New Jersey Define When New Jersey courts consider custody, visitation, and child support matters, including issues like parental relocation and college education funding, the standard that takes priority is referred to as the “best interests of the child.” How do the courts apply this standard to identify what constitutes a minor child’s “best interests”?

The Factors Used to Determine a Child’s Best Interests

Under New Jersey practice, “best interests” is defined broadly, covering physical, emotional, and mental health and well-being. Additionally, New Jersey courts start with the assumption that it’s generally in a minor child’s “best interests” to have meaningful and regular interaction with both parents.

New Jersey law specifically identifies the factors a court may consider when making a determination of best interests:

  • The nature of the relationship between the parents, e.g., do they have the ability to work cooperatively, communicate, and reach agreement about issues related to the child’s well-being, including custody and visitation
  • The nature of the relationship between the child and each parent, e.g., the time the child spent with each parent before the divorce; the nature and quality of the interaction; and whether the nature and quality of the interaction has changed since the divorce
  • The fitness of each parent to attend to the physical, emotional, mental, and financial needs of the child
  • The stability of the home environment of each parent
  • The age and number of children in each home
  • The work schedules of the parents
  • The proximity of the parents’ homes to each other
  • Any special needs of the child
  • The preference of the child (depending on the age of the child)

Contact an Experienced New Jersey Family Law Attorney

At the law office of David M. Lipshutz, we won’t take your case unless we know we can help. For a private meeting, contact our office online or call us at 856-627-1990. We are available to meet with you Monday through Friday, between 9 A.M. and 5 P.M.

Calculating Child Support in New Jersey

Calculating Child Support in New JerseyIn the state of New Jersey, by law, both parents of a minor child are required to provide financial support for that child in the event of a divorce or separation. It is assumed that, if the parents were still living together, they would combine their incomes to meet the child’s needs. New Jersey’s child support law seeks to bring about the same result through the payment of child support.

The Factors Used to Calculate Child Support in New Jersey

To determine the appropriate amount of child support to be paid, the court will first determine the parents’ combined net incomes. Net income is generally calculated by identifying gross income from all sources, including wages or salary, bonuses, commissions, tips, business income, interest and dividend income, disability payments, workers’ compensation, unemployment, Social Security, veteran’s benefits and severance pay. To determine net income, the court then subtracts certain payments, such as taxes and other child support paid. For a quick calculation, you can go to the New Jersey Child Support Calculator. However, if the court determines that a parent should be earning more, based on his/her education and work experience, the court can impute additional income to the parent.

There are basically two types of child support calculations in New Jersey: the sole custody calculation and the shared parenting calculation. If a minor child spends less than 105 nights per year with the non-custodial parent, child support will be calculated using the sole parenting worksheet, found in Appendix IX-C of the New Jersey Child Support Guidelines. If the child spends more than 105 nights, but less than 183 (50%) nights with the non-custodial parent, the shared parenting worksheet (Appendix IX-D) is usually used.

The child support worksheets take into consideration the basic needs and expenses of the child, such as food, clothing and shelter. Certain predictable recurring expenses, such as child care, health insurance coverage, medical expenses and even transportation for visitation (if the custodial parent relocates) can also change the support calculation.

Contact Attorney David M. Lipshutz

We will only take your case if we know we can help.For an appointment, contact our office online or call us at 856-627-1990. We are available to meet with you Monday through Friday, between 9 am and 5 pm.