Lawsuit Earnings Must Go Toward Child Support First In New Jersey

A settlement recently reached between the city of Camden, New Jersey, and 88 people who were put in jail under false pretenses likely means that many custodial parents in New Jersey who are owed child support will get some of the money that they are entitled to. Plaintiffs in the lawsuit should not start celebrating about their large payday just yet.

In New Jersey, being in jail does not stop child support obligations, and an attorney warns that payments that are already owed cannot be reduced. Only future child support payments can be modified.

The total amount of child support owed by the plaintiffs has not been calculated yet, but some of the people who were thrown in jail when they shouldn’t have been because of corrupt police officers means much of their chunk of the pie may go up in smoke. According to New Jersey law, child support obligations need to be paid before plaintiffs receive any money from a lawsuit.

Additionally, families of the plaintiffs who received state and federal benefits while the plaintiffs sat in jail may have to use some of those benefits to settle child support obligations. It’s unlikely that the amount of money that some plaintiffs had to fork over for unpaid child support will be known because of a nondisclosure agreement reached with the city.

But laws like New Jersey’s child support laws exist so children can get the money they need to have a decent standard of living. Obligations do not stop just because someone can’t pay. Child support is for the children, so think about why it’s necessary to keep that money flowing to its rightful recipients.

Source: Philadelphia Inquirer, “Child-support liens may delay payouts in $3.5M Camden settlement,” Barbara Boyer, Feb. 15, 2013