Can I Receive Child Support Even if I am Unmarried?
It is important to understand New Jersey laws when it comes to child support with unmarried parents. If you have questions or concerns about how it works, do not hesitate to reach out to our skilled family law attorneys to learn more.
How is child support determined for unmarried parents in New Jersey?
In the state of New Jersey, a child’s best interests will always come first in the eyes of the court. New Jersey runs under the policy that children should have a right to financial support from both parents, no matter what the relationship status of their parents is. This suggests that children are entitled to share in the current income of both parents, which is displayed in child support decisions. For unmarried parents, the New Jersey Child Support Guidelines are used to determine child support.
It is important to note that these guidelines apply to parties with a combined net income between $170 and $3,600 per week. There are several factors that are also contemplated along with the guidelines. Some of these include the following:
- The age and health of the child, and any special needs they may have
- Debts and liabilities of each child and parent
- The custody arrangement
- The child’s need for further education
- The income and assets of each parent
- The earning capacity of the child
Do not hesitate to reach out to our firm today if you have any questions concerning how child support for unmarried parents works in New Jersey. Our firm is prepared to discuss the specifics of your case and your options.
Is a paternity test required?
There are custody guidelines in place that apply to unmarried parents in order to protect their parental rights. When it comes to custody under these circumstances, it is important to understand that an unmarried father has no parental rights to a child until paternity is established first. This can be done in two different ways:
- Voluntary acknowledgment: In situations where the identity of the father is agreed upon by both parties, the father can automatically accept his rights and responsibilities. This can be done by adding the father’s name on the child’s birth certificate or with a legitimized form signed after the birth.
- A court-ordered DNA test: On the other hand, if there are discrepancies about who the father is or the parents cannot cooperate on the issue, the father can file a lawsuit in order to establish his paternity. This can be done with a court-ordered DNA test in which saliva samples are taken from the father, mother, and child. The test results must come back with a score of 95% or above to establish paternity. Once paternity is established, the unmarried parents both have the same child custody rights to their children.
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