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Resolving Post Divorce Issues Through Mediation - Part 2

In post divorce parent coordination the two most common issues are physical custody and child support. In this article we'll talk about the second of these post divorce parent coordination issues and some of the questions you will need to address but first let's take a look briefly at what child support actually is. There are three main principles behind the New Jersey Child Support Guidelines:

  • Child support is a continuous duty of both parents as the children belong to both of you; and
  • Children are entitled to share in the current income of both parents and not simply the parent who has custody; and
  • Children should not be the economic victims of divorce.

What is lost in this language is the feeling that one parent invariably has that since they are the one writing the check, it is they who is paying child support. You see, just because one of you isn't writing a check, it doesn't mean that you aren't incurring expenses on behalf of your children. For example, if it cost you $2 a week to raise a child and your ex-spouse paid you $1 a week for child support, then you in effect are also "paying" $1 in child support. By way of you spending that money and paying for those expenses out of your own pocket, you too are paying child support but often times, the check writer does not see it this way is is looking to get their child support adjusted.

If that's the case, here are some questions to ask your mediator and your ex-spouse in order to determine if a child support adjustment may be warranted:

  • Has the physical custody arrangement changed since child support was first calculated?

    The number of overnights the children spend with each of you is a factor.
  • Has one of your children been emancipated?

    Depending on your Memorandum of Understanding, a child can be emancipated for a variety of reasons including turning 18, dropping out of school, joining the military, etc.
  • Is one of your children commuting to college?

    While typically expenses for children who go away to college are handled separately from child support, if a child is commuting, they may still be living at home and incurring expenses.
  • Was child support calculated while your child was older than six but younger than 11?

    New Jersey allows for a 14.6% "teenager adjustment" to acknowledge that teens cost more to raise but only if a support order was not entered prior to the child's 6th birthday.

By thinking through these issues before seeking post divorce parent coordination, you'll be better prepared to have a productive conversation regarding the financial well-being of your children and be able to come to a fair and equitable agreement. As the factors listed above state, children should not become the economic victims of divorce and by working together you can be sure they don't.


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New Jersey has five types of spousal support. Rehabilitative alimony is a short-term monetary award that allows a spouse to go back to school or obtain training to re-enter the workforce. Limited duration alimony is awarded in cases of a short marriage when rehabilitative alimony doesn't apply. Reimbursement alimony is awarded when one spouse makes a personal sacrifice so that the other spouse could receive professional or career training. Alimony pendente lite is awarded when a divorce is pending so that both parties can maintain their current standard of living until a final judgment is made. Finally, there is permanent alimony which is usually appropriate in long term marriages and typically terminates upon the death of either party or remarriage.
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