Do I Have to Pay Child Support During Summer Vacation Too?
The summer months usually mean a dramatic shift in the parenting time schedule for separated or divorced parents, now that kids don’t have school and extracurricular activities taking up a substantial portion of their time. Many custody agreements and orders give the parent who is not the parent of primary physical custody longer unbroken blocks of parenting time to spend with their kids during the summer, with this time able to be used for trips or even just for a “staycation” to build a closer parent-child relationship.
However, a parent who does not have primary physical custody will also often have a child support obligation. But when they have greater custody time during their child’s summer vacation, should they also have to continue paying the child support amount they pay when they have less parenting time during the school year? This can be a perfectly reasonable question for non-custodial parents, especially when they have to shoulder costs like food, utilities, or clothing, or pay for vacations with the kids.
Child Support Should Take the Parenting Time Schedule Into Account
First, parents should know that if they have a child support order from the court, the court has already factored in the parenting time schedule when deciding on a support amount. Because child support belongs to your child, not your co-parent, a child support order should only be as large as necessary to pay for your child’s expenses while they are under your co-parent’s roof. Your support amount should reflect the overnight time that you get to spend with your child and children when you become responsible for daily expenses. If your parenting time has been accounted for in your support obligation, your payments should not need to cease during your extended custody time during the summer, since you are effectively providing for your child for time outside of the summer when you do not have parenting time.
Seeking an Abatement During an Extended Custody Period
However, parents may choose to agree outside the court system for the non-custodial parent to have a substantial period of parenting time of a month or more. When parents agree to such a significant temporary modification of the parenting time schedule, it may be appropriate for the non-custodial parent to obtain an abatement of their child support obligation for a month or more. However, an abatement will likely need to be approved by the court, otherwise, the paying parent may have their accounts debited by automatic payments or be held in contempt by the court if it is not made aware of the parents’ arrangement.
Moving for Modification of the Child Support Order
Finally, there may be situations where your parenting time schedule has been modified by the court but your child support order has not been modified. In that case, you may be able to seek a modification of your child support order to reflect the fact that you have increased parenting time with your child or children and therefore are directly responsible for a greater share of their regular living expenses.
Contact a Cherry Hill Family Law Attorney for a Consultation About Child Support in New Jersey Today
If you are thinking about filing for divorce, or if you have already started the divorce process and are dealing with another matter such as child custody, child support, or division of assets, you need to speak with a qualified attorney. Family law attorney, Lois Garber Schwartz, Esq. represents clients throughout the state, including Cherry Hill, Collingswood, Haddonfield, and Mt. Laurel. She understands how challenging this time can be for you, which is why she will fight hard to protect your interests, and the interests of your loved ones, throughout the legal process. Call her at (856) 482-8799 or fill out the confidential contact form to schedule a consultation. She has an office conveniently located at 1040 Kings Hwy. N., Suite 202, Cherry Hill, NJ 08034.
The articles on this blog are for informative purposes only and are no substitute for legal advice or an attorney-client relationship. If you are seeking legal advice, please contact our law firm directly.