Alimony and Child Support Enforcement
The court uses a complex set of factors when determining a New Jersey child support award. Child support, intended to provide for the care, maintenance and education of a child, can be a hotly contested issue. In some cases, parents try to manipulate the system in an effort to receive more or pay less. While it is important to make sure that the court has all the facts when considering child support, it is also important to remember why child support exists in the first place tosupport minor children after divorce or when parents never married.
The court evaluates issues such as:
- The needs of the child
- The standard of living and the financial needs of both parents
- The earning capacity of each parent
- The presumed custody awards
- Cost of child care
- The probability that the child may attend college
- The age and health of the child and the parents
- The parents' responsibility for others, including other children and elderly parents
The law requires both parents to be responsible for the support of children, which is why courts take into account the circumstances of both parents when determining support awards. Moreover, courts must employ this type of analysis not only in divorce cases, but also during separations in which temporary support is awarded (pendente lite), when resolving domestic violence cases and when determining public assistance amounts.
A major issue for courts and social service agencies is determining the right support amounts -- amounts that adequately provide for children, but that do not bankrupt the paying parent. Enforcing child support payments is another major issue that frequently involves legal action.
When child support payments are late, incomplete or never made, the state has a variety of enforcement mechanisms at its disposal. These include:
- Withholding/garnishing wages and income
- Reporting delinquencies to credit agencies in instances where more than $1,000 is owed
- Intercepting lottery winnings if a parent is more than $600 in arrears
- Offsetting tax refunds
- Seizing assets such as bank accounts when the noncustodial parent owes child support and has the means to pay
- Suspending recreational and professional licenses
- Denying passport issuance or renewal to parents who owe more than $2,500 in back child support
- Confiscating civil awards and settlements
- Seeking arrest warrants from a judge
- Issuing judgments after hearings in Family Court
These enforcement techniques may also be used to ensure that children are covered by health insurance and to enforce spousal support awards that are tied to child support amounts. In all instances, the dollar amounts that trigger enforcement action change over time, so those amounts listed above could become greater or smaller.
Employers are often conduits for child support payments and enforcement mechanisms. They withhold wages, make payments to the state and report new hires to facilitate locating delinquent parents. This has proven to be an incentive to parents who might otherwise fall behind in their child support payments; they do not want their employers to learn of any delinquency and consequently do not fall behind.
Other third parties involved in enforcing child support include the U.S. State Department (passports), the New Jersey Lottery (winnings), licensing agencies such as the New Jersey Motor Vehicle Commission and the New Jersey Division of Fish and Wildlife (hunting and fishing licenses), and the Internal Revenue Service. Enforcing child support involves a multipronged strategy.
People who owe back child support or those seeking to enforce a child support order may wish to consult a family law attorney to learn about their options. Because of the many layers of government involved in child support enforcement, having a knowledgeable guide through the system can make a big difference.
Enforcement of Child Support and Alimony Order From Other States
In this ever transient society, it is possible that a person seeking enforcement of a support order in New Jersey, whether child support or alimony, may have obtained that order in another state.
In an effort to have uniformity among all the States in the United States, each State has adopted the Uniform Interstate Family Support Act (UIFSA), which establishes the method to enforce a support order when one or both parties have moved from the State of initial jurisdiction. UIFSA also establishes rules for modifying support orders.
If you have moved to New Jersey from another State and either have a support order or Judgment of Divorce which encompasses child support and/or alimony, you should register that foreign order in this State with the Superior Court of New Jersey, Chancery Division, Family Part. Registration can also be done by sending the appropriate documents to a New Jersey support enforcement agency (i.e., the Probation Department).
New Jersey's statute, which codifies UIFSA, requires that certain documents and information be obtained before registration of the foreign court order can be proper. Upon receipt of those documents, the order will be filed as a foreign judgment. When that order is registered, the registering tribunal notifies the non-registering party. Notice is to be accompanied by a copy of the registered order, as well as the documents and relevant information that accompanied that order. The non-registering party then has 20 days after the date of mailing or personal service of the notice to request a hearing to contest the validity or enforcement of that registered order. If the non-registering party fails to contest the validity or enforcement of the registered order in a timely manner, the order is confirmed by operation of law.
Once registered, if the other party is not complying with his or her obligations of support, the registering party could then file a Complaint or comparable pleading for the relief needed, such as enforcement of that order. In order for New Jersey Courts to have jurisdiction over the obligor, either the child must reside in New Jersey as a result of the acts or directives of that individual or that obligor must be a resident of New Jersey. If the obligor is a non-resident, that individual (1) must be personally served with the pleadings in New Jersey, (2) must submit to New Jersey jurisdiction by consent, or (3) must have resided with the child in New Jersey.
Even if a New Jersey Court has the power to enforce an out-of-state order, it may not necessarily modify that order. In a recent New Jersey Appellate Court case, the parties were married, had two children and were divorced in Pennsylvania in 1999. A child support order was entered in Pennsylvania at that time. Some time later, both parties and the children moved to New Jersey. In June of 2002, the parties signed a Consent Order in New Jersey that recalculated child support for the younger child since the older child was going to be emancipated (pursuant to Pennsylvania law). Also in June of 2002, a Pennsylvania Court issued an Order emancipating the older child who had turned 18.
When the younger child turned 18 and graduated from high school, the Defendant/Father filed a Motion in New Jersey to have that child declared emancipated. The Plaintiff/Wife filed a Cross-Motion seeking to un-emancipate the older child and to require contribution by the Defendant to both children's college education expenses pursuant to New Jersey law.
The Appellate Division in this case held that New Jersey Courts cannot modify the Pennsylvania child support order by requiring the Defendant to pay the children's college education expenses since the law of the issuing state (Pennsylvania) governs the nature, extent, amount, and duration of current payments and other obligations of support under the order. Since Pennsylvania law governs, even though the children and the parties live in New Jersey, a New Jersey Court could not modify this support order.
New Jersey's version of UIFSA contains many rules involving what authority the initiating state court has verses the responding state (the current state of residence). There are also rules for determining the order of recognition when multiple orders have been entered by different states.
If you have a foreign support order and need it enforced in New Jersey, New Jersey's adaptation of UIFSA is your blueprint.
Divorce, alimony and Child Support in New Jersey
The following is a portion of the NJ Court Rules which apply to all Divorce, alimony and child support cases.
RULE 5:7. DIVORCE, NULLITY, SEPARATE MAINTENANCE (Child Support and Alimony)
Except as otherwise provided by law, venue in actions for divorce, nullity and separate maintenance shall be laid in the county in which plaintiff was domiciled when the cause of action arose, or if plaintiff was not then domiciled in this State, then in the county in which defendant was domiciled when the cause of action arose; or if neither party was domiciled in this State when the cause of action arose, then in the county in which the plaintiff is domiciled when the action is commenced, or if plaintiff is not domiciled in this State, then in the county where defendant is domiciled when service of process is made. For purposes of this rule, in actions brought under N.J.S.A. 2A:34-2(c), the cause of action shall be deemed to have arisen three months after the last act of cruelty complained of in the Complaint.
5:7-2. Application Pendente Lite
(a) Support Pendente Lite. Applications for support, counsel fees and costs pendente lite, whether made with the complaint or by notice of motion thereafter, shall be accompanied by a completed case information statement in the form set forth in Appendix V to these rules pursuant to R. 5:5-2. If this form has previously been submitted, amendments thereto must be filed with the court no later than eight days prior to the motion hearing date. A completed case information statement shall accompany the response to the application pendente lite. If previously submitted, amendments thereto must be filed with the court no later than eight days prior to the hearing date.
(b) Restraints; Contempt. If pendente lite relief is sought, by way of preliminary restraint or to hold a party in contempt, the application shall be on petition and order to show cause.
All elements of a claim for divorce or nullity may be proved without corroboration.
5:7-4. Alimony and Child Support Payments
(a) Allocation of Support. In awarding alimony, maintenance or child support, the court shall separate the amounts awarded for alimony or maintenance and the amounts awarded for child support, unless for good cause shown the court determines that the amounts should be unallocated. In awarding child support, payments for health care, child care and other expenses necessary to maintain the child or children shall be designated as part of the child support award unless good cause is shown why such amounts should be separated.
(b) Payments Through the Probation Division . The judgment or order shall provide that payments be made to the New Jersey Family Support Payment Center. When an obligor's county of residence changes, the transfer of the responsibility for the collection and enforcement of such judgment or order shall be governed by the policies established by the Administrative Director of the Courts. Alimony, maintenance or child support payments not presently made through the Probation Division shall be so made upon application of either party to the Probation Division unless the other party, upon application to the court, shows good cause to the contrary. In non-dissolution support proceedings, the court shall record its decision using the Uniform Order for Summary Support shown in Appendix XVI of these Rules. Upon the signing of any order that includes support or health insurance provisions to be administered by the Probation Division, the court shall, immediately after the hearing, send to the appropriate Probation Division one copy of the order which shall include statements prepared by the parties or their attorneys providing the names, dates of birth, Social Security Numbers, and mailing addresses of the parents and the children; the occupation and driver's license number of the parent who is ordered to pay support; the policy number and name of the health insurance provider of the parent who is ordered to insure the children; and, if income withholding is ordered, the name and address of the obligor's employer. When a party or attorney must prepare a formal written judgment or order pursuant to a judicial decision that includes support or health insurance provisions to be administered by the Probation Division, the court shall, on the date of the hearing, record the support and health insurance provisions on a Temporary Support Order using the form prescribed in Appendix XVII of these Rules and shall immediately have such order delivered to the Probation Division so that a support account can be established on the Automated Child Support Enforcement System (ACSES). The Probation Division shall establish a support account on ACSES within eight business days of the date the court order was signed. Demographic information provided on the Temporary Support Order shall be limited to that which is required to establish an ACSES account and send case initiation documents to the parties and the obligor's employer. In addition to the information provided to the court with the final order or judgment as required by this paragraph, the parties and their attorneys shall provide additional family and benefit information at the request of the Probation Division. The Temporary Support Order shall remain in effect until a copy of the final judgment or order is received by the Probation Division. After a judgment or order is entered and the Probation Division has established an ACSES support account, the obligor shall notify the appropriate Probation Division of any change of employer, health insurance provider or address and the obligee shall notify the Probation Division of a change of address or a change in the status of the children as may be required in the order or judgment within 10 days of the change, and any judgment or order that includes alimony or support shall so provide. Failure to provide information as to change of employer, health insurance provider or address shall be considered a violation of the order. Judgments or orders amending the amounts to be paid through the Probation Division shall be treated in the same manner.
(c) Income Withholding. All complaints, notices, pleadings, orders and judgments which include child support filed or entered on or after October 1, 1990 shall comply with the income withholding provisions of Rule 5:7-5.
(d) Notices Applicable to All Orders and Judgments That Include Child Support Provisions. The judgment or order shall include notices stating: (1) that, if support is not paid through immediate income withholding, the child support provisions of an order or judgment are subject to income withholding when a child support arrearage has accrued in an amount equal to or in excess of the amount of support payable for 14 days. The withholding is effective against the obligor's current and future income from all sources authorized by law; (2) that any payment or installment of an order for child support or those portions of an order which are allocated for child support shall be fully enforceable and entitled to full faith and credit and shall be a judgment by operation of law on or after the date it is due; (3) that no payment or installment of an order for child support or those portions of an order that are allocated for child support shall be retroactively modified by the court except for the period during which the party seeking relief has pending an application for modification as provided in N.J.S.A. 2A:17-56.23a; (4) that the occupational, recreational, and professional licenses, including a license to practice law, held or applied for by the obligor may be denied, suspended or revoked if: 1) a child support arrearage accumulates that is equal to or exceeds the amount of child support payable for six months, or 2) the obligor fails to provide health care coverage for the child as ordered by the court within six months, or 3) a warrant for the obligor's arrest has been issued by the court for obligor's failure to pay child support as ordered, or for obligor's failure to appear at a hearing to establish paternity or child support, or for obligor's failure to appear at a child support hearing to enforce a child support order and said warrant remains outstanding; (5) that the driver's license held or applied for by the obligor may be denied, suspended, or revoked if 1) a child support arrearage accumulates that is equal to or exceeds the amount of child support payable for six months, or 2) the obligor fails to provide health care coverage for the child as ordered by the court within six months; and (6) that the driver's license held or applied for by the obligor shall be denied, suspended, or revoked if the court issues a warrant for the obligor's arrest for failure to pay child support as ordered, or for failure to appear at a hearing to establish paternity or child support, or for failure to appear at a child support hearing to enforce a child support order and said warrant remains outstanding.
(e) Additional Notices for Orders and Judgments Payable Through the Probation Division. Orders and judgments payable through the Probation Division shall include notices, in addition to those listed in paragraph (d), stating: (1) that the amount of child support and/or the addition of a health care coverage provision in Title IV-D cases shall be subject to review, at least once every three years, on written request by either party to the Division of Family Development, P.O. Box 716, Trenton, NJ 08625-0716 and adjusted by the court, as appropriate, or upon application to the court; (2) that the parties are required to notify the appropriate Probation Division of any change of employer, address or health care coverage provider within 10 days of the change and that failure to provide such information shall be considered a violation of the order; (3) that, in accordance with N.J.S.A. 2A:34-23b, the custodial parent may require the non-custodial parent's health care coverage provider to make payments directly to the health care provider by submitting a copy of the relevant sections of the order to the insurer; and (4) that Social Security numbers are collected and used in accordance with section 205 of the Social Security Act (42 U.S.C. 405), that disclosure of an individual's Social Security number for Title IV-D purposes is mandatory, that Social Security numbers are used to obtain income, employment and benefit information on individuals through computer matching programs with federal and state agencies, and that such information is used to establish and enforce child support under Title IV-D of the Social Security Act (42 U.S.C. 651 et seq.).
5:7-5. Failure to Pay; Enforcement by the Court or Party; Income Withholding for Child Support; Suspension and Revocation of Licenses for Failure to Support Dependents; Execution of Assets for Child Support; Child Support Judgments and Post-judgment Interest
(a) Contempt and Relief in Aid of Litigant's Rights. If a person fails to make payments or provide health insurance coverage as directed by an order or judgment, the Probation Division responsible for monitoring and enforcing compliance shall notify such person by mail that such failure may result in the institution of contempt proceedings. Upon the accumulation of a support arrearage equal to or in excess of the amount of support payable for 14 days or failure to provide health insurance coverage as ordered, the Probation Division shall file a verified statement setting forth the facts establishing disobedience of the order or judgment. The court in the county in which the person against whom the award is made resides, unless another court is designated by order or Rule 5:7-6(a) otherwise provides, may then, in its discretion, institute contempt proceedings in accordance with Rule 1:10-2, and an aggrieved party, or the Probation Division on that person's behalf, may apply to the court for relief in accordance with Rule 1:10-3. If the aggrieved party states under oath in the application that he or she is indigent and unable to pay the required filing fees, the court, if satisfied of the fact of indigency, may waive the payment of such fees. If the application for relief is made on behalf of a party by the Probation Division, filing fees shall be waived, and may, in the discretion of the court, subsequently be assessed against the adverse party if it is determined that he or she has not complied with the order or judgment being enforced. For past-due alimony or child support payments that have not been docketed as a civil money judgment with the Clerk of the Superior Court, the court may, on its own motion or on motion by the party bringing the enforcement action, assess a late interest charge against the adverse party at the rate prescribed by
Rule 4:42-11(a). For past-due child support payments that have been docketed as a civil money judgment, see paragraph g of this Rule.
(b) Immediate Income Withholding . All orders that include child support shall be paid through immediate income withholding from the obligor's current and future income unless the parties agree, in writing, to an alternative arrangement or either party shows, and the court finds, good cause for an alternative arrangement. If included in the same order as child support, the court may, in its discretion, garnish a separate amount for alimony, maintenance or spousal support in accordance with N.J.S.A. 2A:17-50 et seq. and include such amount in the immediate income withholding order.
(1) Application. Immediate income withholding applies to all orders which include child support that are established or modified on or after October 1, 1990.
(2) Procedure. If an order or judgment contains a child support provision, the child support shall be paid through immediate income withholding, and the withholding may include amounts for alimony, maintenance or spousal support, unless the parties agree, in writing, to an alternative arrangement or either party shows and the court finds good cause for an alternative arrangement. The court shall forward the order to the Probation Division which shall prepare and send a Notice to Payor of Income Withholding to the obligor's employer or other source of income.
(3) Advance Notice. Every complaint, notice or pleading for the entry or modification of a child support order shall include the following written notice: In accordance with N.J.S.A. 2A:17-56.7 et seq., the child support provisions of a court order are subject to income withholding on the effective date of the order unless the parties agree, in writing, to an alternative arrangement or either party shows and the court finds good cause to establish an alternative arrangement. The income withholding is effective upon all types of income including wages from current and future employment.
(c) Initiated Income Withholding. When any child support order that is not subject to immediate income withholding in accordance with paragraph (b) has an accumulated arrearage equal to or exceeding the amount of support payable for 14 days, the Probation Division supervising the support order shall initiate an income withholding against the obligor's current and future income that is subject to income withholding.
(1) Application. Initiated income withholding applies to all orders which include child support (a) that are entered prior to October 1, 1990, (b) that are entered or modified after October 1, 1990 which do not include a provision for immediate income withholding or (c) in which the parties have agreed, in writing, to an alternative arrangement and an arrearage equal to or in excess of the amount of support payable for 14 days exists. Initiated income withholding does not apply to alimony, maintenance or spousal support provisions.
(2) Procedure. When any order that includes child support is in default in an amount equal to or in excess of the amount of support payable for 14 days, the Probation Division of the County responsible for monitoring and enforcing compliance with the order or judgment shall initiate an income withholding against any of the obligor's income that is subject to income withholding. The Probation Division shall send, by regular mail, a Notice to Obligor of Income Withholding to the obligor's last known address. This notice shall be postmarked no later than 10 days after the date on which the case was identified as having the requisite 14-day arrearage and shall be mailed at the same time as the notice to the payor. The notice shall inform the obligor of the amounts withheld for current support and for the liquidation of arrearages and state that the withholding has commenced. An obligor may contest the withholding only on the basis of mistake of fact. If an obligor objects to the withholding, the Probation Division shall schedule a hearing or administrative review within 20 days after receiving notice of the contest of the withholding. Payment of arrearages after the due date shall not constitute good cause to terminate the withholding. No later than five days after the hearing or administrative review, the Probation Division shall notify the obligor, in writing, whether the withholding shall continue.
(3) Advance Notice. All orders that include child support and that are not subject to immediate income withholding as described in paragraph (b) shall include a notice to the obligor stating that: The child support provisions of a support order are subject to income withholding when a child support arrearage has accrued in an amount equal to or in excess of the amount of support payable for 14 days. The withholding is effective against the obligor's current and future income from all sources authorized by law.
(d) Rules Applicable to All Withholdings. The income withholding shall be binding on the obligor's employer or other source of income and successive payors of the obligor's income immediately after service of the Notice to Payor of Income Withholding upon the payor of such income. An employer or other source of income is not required to alter normal pay cycles to comply with the withholding but shall withhold and forward the required amount beginning with the first pay period that ends immediately after the notice is postmarked and each time the obligor is paid thereafter. The Notice to Payor of Income Withholding shall state that the payor of the obligor's income, except for the Division of Unemployment and Temporary Disability, may deduct a fee of $1.00 for each payment. Such fee shall be deducted from the obligor's income in addition to the amount withheld for child support. The total amount of the withholding shall not exceed the maximum amount permitted under section 303(b) of the federal Consumer Credit Protection Act (15 U.S.C. 1673(b)).
If the court modifies any support order based upon changed circumstances, the Probation Division shall notify the payor to change the income withholding accordingly. When the Probation Division is unable to locate the obligor's current employer or other source of income to effectuate an income withholding, it may use any other procedures authorized by law to obtain this information. An income withholding for child support shall have priority over all other legal processes under State law without regard to the date of entry. If the obligor has more than one support order subject to withholding, the employer or other source of income shall withhold the payments on a pro-rata basis.
The income withholding shall remain in effect until such time as the court enters an order to the contrary and the Probation Division delivers a Notice of Termination of Income Withholding to the employer or other source of income. An employer may not use an income withholding as a basis for discharge, discipline or discrimination in hiring. An aggrieved obligor may institute court action against the employer or other source of income as set forth in N.J.S.A. 2A:17-56.12. If the obligor's source of income fails to comply with a Notice to Payor of Income Withholding, it is liable for amounts that should have been withheld. The employer or other source of income shall notify the Probation Division promptly upon termination of the obligor's employment. If an employer or other source of income fails to comply with the terms of the income withholding or any withholding provision in this paragraph, the court may, upon application of the Probation Division, issue an Order to Show Cause for Contempt against the payor and proceed with contempt proceedings under Rule 1:10-3. The forms and notices required herein shall be prescribed by the Administrative Director of the Courts.
(e) Suspension and Revocation of Licenses for Failure to Support Dependents. (Professional license ex. - Doctor, CPA, Landscaper, Plumber)
(1) General Provisions. If a child support arrearage equals or exceeds the amount of child support payable for six months, or court-ordered health care coverage for a child is not provided within six months of the date that it is ordered, or the obligor fails to respond to a subpoena relating to a paternity or child support action, or a warrant for the obligor's arrest has been issued by the court due to the failure to pay child support as ordered, failure to appear at a hearing to establish paternity or child support, or failure to appear at a child support hearing to enforce a child support order, and said warrant remains outstanding, and the obligor is found to possess a license in the State of New Jersey, including a license to practice law, and attempts to enforce the support provisions through income withholding, withholding of civil lawsuit awards, and the execution of assets, when available, have been exhausted, the Probation Division shall send a written notice to the obligor, by certified and regular mail, return receipt requested, at the obligor's last-known address or place of business or employment, stating that the obligor's licenses may be revoked or suspended unless, within 30 days of the postmark date of the notice, the obligor pays the full amount of past-due child support, or provides proof that health care coverage for the child has been obtained, or responds to a subpoena, or makes a written request for a court hearing to the Probation Division. If a child support-related warrant exists, the license revocation or suspension will be terminated if the obligor pays the full amount of the child support arrearage, provides proof that health care coverage for the child has been obtained, or surrenders to the county sheriff or the Probation Division. No license revocation action shall be initiated if the Probation Division has received notice that the obligor has pending a motion to modify the child support order if that motion was filed prior to the date that the notice of the license suspension or revocation was sent by the Probation Division. If the court issues a warrant for the obligor's arrest for failure to pay child support as ordered, or for failure to appear at a hearing to establish paternity or child support, or for failure to appear at a child support hearing to enforce a child support order, and said warrant remains outstanding, the Probation Division shall immediately notify the Division of Motor Vehicles of the warrant and the requirement to suspend the obligor's driving privileges pursuant to N.J.S.A. 2A:17-56.41.
(2) Suspension by Default of the Obligor. If, after receiving notice of a proposed license suspension or revocation, the obligor fails to take one of the actions specified in paragraph (e)(1) of this Rule, the Probation Division shall provide the court with a certification setting forth the obligor's non-compliance and failure to respond to the written notice of the pending license revocation or suspension as well as proof of service of the written notice of license suspension or denial. If, based on the papers filed by the Probation Division, the court is satisfied that service on the obligor was effective as set forth below, it shall, without need for further due process or hearing, enter an order suspending or revoking all licenses held by the obligor except that if the obligor is an attorney licensed to practice law in New Jersey, the order shall notify the Supreme Court to suspend the obligor's license to practice law.
(3) Service of the Notice of Proposed License Suspension or Revocation. For the purpose of license suspensions or revocations initiated in accordance with this paragraph, simultaneous certified and regular mailing of the written notice shall constitute effective service. The court may deem procedural due process requirements for notice and service of process to be met with respect to a party thereto upon delivery of written notice to the most recent residential or employer address filed with the Probation Division for that party. If a party fails to respond to a notice and no proof is available that the party received the notice, the Probation Division shall document to the court that it has made a diligent effort to locate the party by making inquiries that may include, but are not limited to: the United States Postal Service, the Division of Motor Vehicles in the Department of Transportation, the Division of Taxation in the Department of the Treasury, the Department of Corrections, and the Department of Labor. The Probation Division shall provide an affidavit to the court presenting such documentation of its diligent effort, which certifies its inability to locate the party. If the United States Postal Service returns the mail to the Probation Division within the 30-day response period marked "moved, unable to forward," "addressee not known," "no such number/street," "insufficient address," or "forwarding order expired," the court may deem procedural due process requirements for notice and service of process to be met upon a finding that the Probation Division has provided the affidavit documenting the diligent effort to locate the party. If the certified mail is returned for any other reason without the return of the regular mail, the regular mail service shall constitute effective service. If the mail is addressed to the obligor at the obligor's place of business or employment, with postal instructions to deliver to the addressee only, service will be deemed effective only if the signature on the return receipt appears to be that of the obligor. Acceptance of certified mail notice signed by the obligor, the obligor's attorney, or a competent member of the obligor's household above the age of 14 shall be deemed effective service.
(4) License Suspension or Revocation Hearings. If the obligor requests a hearing, the Probation Division shall file a petition for a court hearing, which shall occur within 45 days of the obligor's request. If, at or prior to the hearing, the obligor pays the full amount of the child support arrearage or provides proof that health care coverage for the child has been obtained or responds to the subpoena or surrenders to the county sheriff or the Probation Division, the license revocation process shall be terminated. The court shall suspend or revoke the obligor's licenses (if the obligor is an attorney licensed to practice law in New Jersey, the order shall notify the Supreme Court to suspend the obligor's license to practice law) if it finds that: (a) all appropriate enforcement methods have been exhausted, (b) the obligor is the holder of a license, (c) the requisite child support arrearage amount exists or health care coverage for the child has not been provided as ordered, (d) no motion to modify the child support order, filed prior to the date that the notice of the license suspension or revocation was sent by the Probation Division, is pending before the court, and (e) there is no equitable reason, such as involuntary unemployment, disability, or compliance with a court-ordered plan for the periodic payment of the child support arrearage amount, for the obligor's non-compliance with the child support order. If the court is satisfied that these conditions exist, it shall first consider suspending or revoking the obligor's driver's license prior to a professional or occupational license. If the obligor fails to appear at the hearing after being properly served with notice, the court shall order the suspension or revocation of all licenses held by the obligor except that if the obligor is an attorney licensed to practice law in New Jersey, the order shall notify the Supreme Court to suspend the obligor's license to practice law. In the case of a driver's license, if the court finds that the license revocation or suspension will result in a significant hardship to the obligor, to the obligor's legal dependents under 18 years of age living in the obligor's household, to the obligor's employees, or to persons, businesses, or entities to whom the obligor provides goods or services, the court may allow the obligor to pay 25% of the past-due child support amount within three working days of the hearing, establish a payment schedule to satisfy the remainder of the arrearages within one year, and require that the obligor comply with any current child support obligation. If the obligor agrees to this arrangement, no suspension or revocation of any licenses shall be ordered. Compliance with the payment agreement shall be monitored by the Probation Division. If the obligor has good cause for not complying with the payment agreement within the time permitted, the obligor shall immediately file a motion with the court and the Probation Division requesting an extension of the payment plan. The court may extend the payment plan if it is satisfied that the obligor has made a good faith effort to comply with the plan and is unable to satisfy the full amount of past-due support within the time permitted due to circumstances beyond the obligor's control. In no case shall a payment plan extend beyond the date that the dependent child reaches the age of 18. If the obligor fails to comply with the court-ordered payment schedule, the court shall, upon receipt of a certification of non-compliance from the Probation Division, and without further hearing, order the immediate revocation or suspension of all licenses held by the obligor. If the obligor is an attorney licensed to practice law in New Jersey, the order shall notify the Supreme Court to suspend the obligor's license to practice law. If required by existing law or regulation, the court shall order that the obligor surrender the license to the issuing authority within 30 days of the date of the order.
(5) Transmittal of Order Suspending or Revoking License. If the court issues an order suspending or revoking a license pursuant to paragraph (e) of this Rule, the Probation Division shall forward a copy of the order to the obligor and all appropriate licensing authorities. If the order notifies the Supreme Court to suspend a license to practice law in New Jersey, the Probation Division shall forward the order to the Clerk of the Supreme Court and a copy to the Director of the Office of Attorney Ethics. The suspension of a license to practice law in the State of New Jersey pursuant to paragraph (e) of this Rule, shall be governed by R. 1:20-11A.
(6) Relief From Suspension or Revocation Due to Mistaken Identity. If the licensee, upon receipt of the notice of suspension or revocation from the licensing authority, disputes that he or she is the obligor, the licensee shall notify the licensing authority and the Probation Division by registered mail within 20 days of the postmark date of the notice and request a hearing. Upon receipt of the licensee's request for a hearing, the Probation Division shall determine if the licensee is the obligor. If the Probation Division determines that the licensee is not the obligor, the Probation Division shall so notify the licensee and the licensing authority. If the Probation Division determines that the licensee is the obligor and the licensee still disputes this finding, the Probation Division shall file a petition for a court hearing to resolve the issue. The hearing shall be held within 30 days of the date that the Probation Division determines that a hearing is required. If a hearing is held to determine if the licensee is the obligor, the Probation Division shall notify the licensing authority of the court's finding.
(7) Term of Suspension/Restoration of License. A license suspension or revocation ordered by the court remains in effect until the obligor files with the licensing authority either a court order restoring the license or a Probation Division certification attesting to the full satisfaction of the child support arrearage. Within three working days of the full payment of the child support arrearage, the Probation Division shall provide the court with a certification stating that the obligor has satisfied the past-due child support amount. Upon receipt of the certification, the court shall issue an order restoring the obligor's licenses. The Probation Division shall immediately forward the restoration order or certification to the obligor. The obligor is responsible for filing the court order or Probation certification with the licensing authority. If a license to practice law in New Jersey was suspended by the Supreme Court pursuant to R. 1:20-11A, the attorney shall forward the Chancery Division, Family Part order that recommends the restoration of the license to the Clerk of the Supreme Court and a copy of the order to the Director of the Office of Attorney Ethics. The reinstatement of a license to practice law in New Jersey shall be governed by R. 1:20-11A. When the court issues an order to vacate a child support-related warrant or local law enforcement authorities execute the warrant, the Probation Division shall send a certification or the court's order to the obligor and to the Division of Motor Vehicles indicating that the child support-related warrant is no longer effective. The Division of Motor Vehicles, upon receipt of the order or certification, may reinstate the obligor's driving privileges, provided that the obligor pays the Division's restoration fee.
(f) Execution on Assets to Collect Alimony and Child Support. If an order is issued pursuant to R. 4:59-1(b) authorizing the Probation Division to execute on cash or cash-equivalent assets as defined therein to collect alimony and child support judgments payable through the Probation Division, the Probation Division may assist judgment creditors by preparing the writ of execution, serving the writ on the holder of the debtor's asset by registered or certified mail, and scheduling the matter before the court to obtain an order to turn over funds. Service of the writ shall freeze the asset for the amount of the judgment, but no turnover of funds shall be made or required to be made until ordered by the court. The writ of execution shall be signed by the judgment creditor or the attorney for the judgment creditor and may, subject to the limitations of this rule, be issued by the Vicinage Chief Probation Officer acting as deputy clerk of the Superior Court pursuant to R. 4:59-1(b). The Probation Division shall mail a notice to the debtor as required by R. 4:59-1(g) immediately after the writ has been served on the holder of the asset. The Probation Division shall send a copy of all writs of execution issued pursuant to R. 4:59-1(b) to the Family Division Case Management Office. No costs or fees shall be assessed by the Probation Division for aiding in the execution of a judgment for alimony or child support. With respect to assets other than cash or cash-equivalents as defined in R. 4:59-1(b), the Probation Division may assist the judgment creditor in preparing the writ of execution and such other forms relating to the execution as may be required, and in referring the judgment creditor to the sheriff of the county where the asset is located.
(g) Child Support Judgments and Post-judgment Interest. In accordance with N.J.S.A. 2A:17-56.23a, past-due child support payments are a judgment by operation of law on or after the date due and are subject to post-judgment interest at the rates prescribed in Rule 4:42-11 at the time of satisfaction or execution. Past-due child support payable through the Probation Division shall be automatically docketed as civil judgments with the Clerk of the Superior Court on the first day of the month following the date the payment was due. The Probation Division may, with the authorization of a child support judgment creditor, assist that party in calculating post-judgment interest in accordance with Rule 4:42-11 at the time an offer of satisfaction is tendered or an execution of assets is initiated. For child support that is not payable through the Probation Division, the obligee shall file a motion with the court asking that the amount of past-due child support be fixed and that a judgment be entered for that amount. The obligee shall be responsible for filing the judgment with the Clerk of the Superior Court. Alternatively, the obligee may procure a judgment by filing an application with the Probation Division requesting that past-due and future child support payments be made through that office in accordance with Rule 5:7-4(b).
5:7-6. Consolidated Enforcement and Modification Proceedings
(a) Where an order or judgment requires payment of support or alimony through a probation office in a county other than the county of venue and where motions are pending both for modification and enforcement of the order or judgment, all such motions shall be heard in the county of venue. Prior to such hearing, the amount of arrearages shall be fixed in the county where payments are required to be made either by certification of the probation office or, if its certification is contested, by the court in that county. Where motions are pending both for modification and enforcement, a certification of arrears shall be forwarded by the probation office to the court of original venue seven (7) days prior to the return date.
(b) Where any judgment requires payment through a probation office, all motions for modification or enforcement shall be served by both regular and certified mail upon the probation office in that county as if it were a party to the action.
Common Tags: Modification of Child Support Order, change in circumstance, modification of alimony, modification of support order, modification of spousal support order, modification of property settlement agreement, modification of matrimonial settlement agreement, enforcement of child support order, enforcement of spousal support order, child support judgments, post-judgment enforcement.
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