Does New Jersey’s Child Support Guidelines Include Teen Driver’s Auto Insurance?
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Child support and amendments and changes to child support payments are often contentious issues. As unemancipated children age their support needs will logically change with them. In a specific case, Fichter-v-Fichter October 21, 2015, the family law courts had to address the question of whether a parent already paying child support also has to pay an additional amount of child support for a newly licensed unemancipated teenage driver to supply that child with insurance.
The details of the case were as follows; the parties had divorced in 2011; however, they shared joint legal custody of a 17-year-old son and 13-year-old daughter, both of whom lived primarily with their mother. In this post-judgment application, the mother sought the father’s contribution to their son’s $854 annual automobile insurance. Though they had agreed to this payment in their original marital settlement agreement, in response to the mother’s application, the father did not agree or disagree with the request. He simply did not pay anything additional towards the car insurance and filed no reply to the application.
The court found that it could require an additional contribution to an unemancipated child’s automobile insurance to be paid in addition to child support awarded pursuant to the Child Support Guidelines.
Factors Considered in Child Support Modification
There are many reasons why a parent may seek a modification to an existing child support arrangement by either the payer or the recipient. These may include the following among others:
- A decrease of income: During times of recession, it is often the case that one parent may have lost their primary income and, as such, the parent may be either unable to meet their child support obligation or a primary caretaker might seek an increase in support because he/she is unable to support the child on the amount paid with the current support order.
- An increase in responsibilities for the minor: As children age, their needs may increase. Some children might need braces, or they might begin to participate in after-school activities or may become licensed drivers and will need auto insurance. A custodial parent may seek additional child support to assist in and offset the costs associated with aging children.
- An increase of familiar responsibilities: A non-custodial parent may have more children or marry/remarry. This will substantially change the financial situation they had at the time of the signing of any marital settlement agreement. Therefore, a parent may seek to decrease their child support obligation to one child to increase support for subsequent children.
- A substantial increase in income: If a custodial parent discovers that the parent responsible for payments child support payments (the obligor) has become the beneficiary of a large sum of money, a custodial parent may consider petitioning the court for an increase in child support responsibilities. In such cases, an obligor might be responsible for additional child support payments, based on an increase in income.
Permanent vs. Temporary Child Support Modification
The court can either grant a temporary or permanent modification of child support. A temporary modification is a large one-time expenditure for specific needs of a child, such as the cost of braces, school uniforms or unexpected medical costs. On the other hand, a permanent modification reflects a substantial change in the needs of a child.
It is critical to note that once an initial support order is in place, people’s lives often change. As such, it is often necessary to modify a child support order. If you wish to seek to modify an existing child support order it is critical that you consult an experienced and skilled family law attorney before proceeding.
Union County NJ Child Support Attorney Here to Discuss Your Obligations Today
Child support is not as simple as it may seem. There are certain regulations that may or may not apply to your specific situation. It´s highly recommended that you speak with an experienced Union County child support attorney.
The Law Office of Edward S. Cooper has extensive experience helping clients across Linden, Elizabeth, Summit, Union, and Union County with divorce cases, with special attention to child support-related topics. Attorney Edward Cooper looks forward to working hand in hand with all of his clients through all the legal process arming them and educating clients from the beginning to the end.