After a divorce, child support is a useful tool to help both parents meet the financial needs of the children so that they can thrive and succeed. Equally important to the positive development of a child is a meaningful relationship with both of their parents. If, however, one parent fails to meet their obligations with regards to child support payments, can they lose access to their children? Here is what you need to know about the withholding of visitation for missed child support payments in New Jersey.
Child Custody and Visitation Rights in New Jersey
Before a divorce can be finalized there are usually child custody and visitation agreements in place concerning the living arrangements of the children involved and visitation rights for the other parent. Once a divorce is finalized, this document becomes legally binding. As such, if one parent should violate, or disrupt, the terms of the agreement they are considered to be in violation of a court order.
Child Support Payments in New Jersey
The State of New Jersey holds that children should not be held to suffer economically as a result of the divorce of their parents or being born out of wedlock. As such, the state recognizes that the child or children of divorce are legally entitled to share in the income of both parents, regardless of their living situation.
Like a custody agreement, before a divorce is finalized, a family judge will determine whether one parent should be required to make support payments to help raise children of the dissolved marriage, as well as the numerical value of those payments. This amount of support will be based on a number of factors, including the:
- Financial needs of both parents
- Net disposable income of both parents
- Time each parent will spend with the child
- Costs associated with the housing, feeding, education, and activities of the child
Under New Jersey law, a parent must pay child support until the child reaches the age of 18 and is not in school. Additionally, child support payments end in the event of the emancipation of the child.
Can Visitation Rights Be Withheld for Non-Payment of Child Support?
While the issues of child support payments and child visitation seem intertwined, in reality, they are two separate legal issues. As such, if a parent does not make the required child support payments, it is unlikely that the court can deny visitation with the children. This is especially true, as New Jersey courts encourage the fostering and development of meaningful relationships between parents and their children. That does not mean, however, that the parent who is not receiving the required child support payments cannot ask the court for an amendment to the child visitation agreement.
Contact an Experienced Lawyer Today
Divorce is never enjoyable, especially if children are involved. If you are seeking a divorce, it is always advisable to talk with an experienced divorce lawyer beforehand. Understanding the complexities of child support payments and visitation rights is crucial before you undertake and legal proceedings. Contact the Law Offices of James C. DeZao today at 973-808-8900 today for your free consultation. Our experienced family law attorneys are here to help you and your children through this most difficult of times in your lives.