I think, fundamentally, we all want to be able to financially support our children. We usually want them to go further than us in life and not have to struggle the way we may have. Yet, when it comes to the subject of child support, this gets quite sticky.
I’ve represented clients on both sides of this issue and although New Jersey has guidelines that, for the most part, are pretty objective. The stickiness comes in when a parent’s ego is involved. Yes, it said it. Sometimes we put our needs in front of our children’s needs. I’m including myself, because I’m guilty of this too. This happens on both sides.
When I represent the person receiving support, for the most part they genuinely just want help in raising their children. As single parents, it is not easy to work and be able to provide for everything children need. To make matters worse, even when they receive child support, it is barely enough to cover lunch. However, there have been a few people who don’t understand how the system works and allow themselves to become frustrated and resentful. They want to ask for things that the law simply does not provide for.
On the other side of the coin, most parents who are required to pay would do so in a heartbeat. But, when they are frustrated with the co-parent, I get all kinds of heat. They don’t want the co-parent to benefit from the payments or they complain that they have too many personal expenses to pay for child support. Again, this is all a reflection of a lack of understanding of how the system works.
It is designed to provide what is in the best interest of the child. Period. However, this is not so easy to digest in real life. This is why education is so important. I want to make sure as many of you as possible understand how child support works in New Jersey. So, for this month’s Saturday Sidebar, I explained the Child Support Guidelines. I am giving you free access to it here. You’re lucky I like you.