When you divorce your spouse, but they receive primary custody, you may still have the right to see and spend time with the child. However, based on your custody split, you may still be required to make child support payments to help provide for your child. Unfortunately, some circumstances may arise in which you are unable to make the monthly payment, leading you to wonder whether or not you will lose custody rights to the child. The following blog explores what you must know about these circumstances and why connecting with a Somerset County family law attorney is critical to protecting your rights as a parent.
How Does Child Support and Custody Impact Each Other?
It’s important to understand that child custody and child custody are separate issues in New Jersey. A parent with legal custody of their child may not have physical custody, but they will still need to pay child support. Essentially, child support does not influence custody, but custody will affect how much a parent must pay in child support.
The parent with full or primary physical custody of the child does not have to pay child support, as they are responsible for taking care of them daily. As such, the non-custodial parent must make a monetary payment to help support the child. However, if your custody arrangement is 70-30, you may find that your support payments are lower than if you had no physical custody of the child.
Will I Lose Custody if I Miss Payments?
If you miss child support payments or cannot afford them, it’s essential to understand what will happen to your custody rights. In general, the courts will not terminate your parental rights solely on your inability to pay child support.
Additionally, if you cannot meet your child support obligations, the child’s other parent does not have the legal right to deviate from the parenting schedule. If you are behind on payments, they cannot withhold your parenting time as a means to punish you for failing to pay.
What Can I Do if I Can’t Afford My Payments in New Jersey?
If struggling to make child support payments, you should connect with an experienced lawyer as soon as possible. Unfortunately, failing to make your payments may result in you being found in contempt of court, which can have legal implications. As such, working with an attorney can help you file a motion to modify your child support payments to ensure you can meet the child’s needs.
At the Siragusa Law Firm, we understand how important maintaining a relationship with your child is to you. That’s why our dedicated team will do everything we can to assist you through these challenging matters. Contact our team today to learn more about how we can help you prioritize the best interest of your child and protect your custody rights.