Q: Does New Jersey grant a non-custodial parent to vacate child support, visitation and custody?
My sons father has intermittent parenting time with his son due to his own accord. We have a court order for every other weekend Friday to Sunday but he has missed two months of visitation this year so far and last year he did not have overnight visitations for a year. He does not have stable housing and is often living with different girlfriends. I just received a letter from the court stating he filed to vacate child support, visitation and custody. He has not served me any paperwork; he has not even attempted to contact me about this paperwork. Is it possible he can be granted to terminate parental rights because he doesn't want to pay child support and he doesn't have a vehicle to get to his visitations?
A: DO NOT WAIT ANY FURTHER! Contact the court immediately ( responding to whomever sent you the notification) telling them that you have not received any of his paperwork and therefore cannot respond to his claims. Send a copy of that submission to the probation officer in charge of your account and to the judge hearing the matter - sending everything by email and by hard copy with a copy retained by you of each email, etc.
When you send in your email and letter - make sure you use the correct caption , correct docket number, correct probation department account number and in the "subject matter bar" in your email - put in the docket number and identify parties names i.e. jane smith v tom smith docket number FM xx - xxxxxx
Once you get the paperwork, then you need to sit down with a family law attorney to discuss recalculating child support since the original child support amount was based on him having a specific number of overnights and he is not exercising that level of overnights. Under the court rules, if a child support order is entered based on a specific number of overnights and he exercises less than that amount, then you have the right to ask the court to recalculate child support retroactively. And, no... simply because he does not want to pay child support any longer or visit with his child does not give him the right to terminate or avoid the payment of child support. If he does not want to visit with the child, the court cannot force him to do so but he has no right to stop paying child support.
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A: Thank you for your question. I am so sorry that you are going through this. It sounds like a really tough situation. Generally speaking, the Court will not permit a voluntary termination of parental rights unless there is good cause; avoiding a child support obligation is not something that is typically considered “good cause.” The Court can, however, modify custody such that you have sole legal and physical custody and may remove the parenting time arrangements contained in the last Order. The Court may modify the child support obligation based upon a change in circumstances, if appropriate. There are certain circumstances where that could actually be to your benefit and result in your being awarded more child support than previously. I suggest that you schedule a consultation with an attorney who can review your matter with you in more detail and provide additional guidance more specific to your particular situation.
1 user found this answer helpful
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