Here in New Jersey, the courts take child support very seriously. When parents of a child are no longer together as a couple, either because they have divorced or because they were never married and are no longer in a relationship together, both parents have a financial responsibility to provide for their child. New Jersey courts have guidelines for calculating how much child support is needed for the financial support of a child, and once they determine how much is owed each month, you are responsible for paying it if you are the non-custodial parent.
Even if you lose your job, or suffer a medical emergency that prevents you from working, you are still required to pay the monthly court-ordered child support until your request for a downward support modification can be heard by a family court. Not doing so will put you in arrears, and it may also mean that you will not receive your federal government stimulus check as provided by the CARES Act.
Congress passed the CARES Act as a response to the economic hardships millions of Americans are facing due to the novel COVID-19 virus. The CARES Act provides for sending a stimulus check to qualified, tax-paying citizens. According to the IRS, even if you owe back taxes (either to the federal government or state government), your stimulus check will not be garnished. There is one exception to this—child support.
A former Roselle, New Jersey man has found himself without his stimulus check, and he and his current wife also say her stimulus check was garnished because of the child support he owes to his child from a previous marriage. For years, Jayson MacConnell dutifully paid his monthly child support of nearly $650 to his ex-wife for their child. In July 2018, his ex-wife filed a motion to raise the amount of child support. That request was approved to $1200/month in February 2019 and was retroactive to the time his ex had filed, meaning MacConnell suddenly owed more than $7,000 in child support.
MacConnell then was laid off from his job and suffered a heart attack. He then filed a downward support modification and was waiting on that to be approved when the coronavirus hit. He and his wife were expecting a $2,400 stimulus check, plus a $500 credit for each of their three children. He says they have received nothing from the government.
New Jersey Child Support Modifications
A seasoned, smart New Jersey family law attorney can help you if you find yourself in a situation where your ex is asking for more child support money. Attorney Joseph D. Lento has advocated for many parents and informed them of their options and what is in their best interests. Child support modifications can be complicated and exhausting, so having a knowledgeable attorney at your side will make a tremendous difference. Call 888-535-3686 to schedule a consultation with Mr. Lento.