Residents in one U.S. state now have a revolutionary new way to pay (and receive) child support. Georgia' Department of Human Services has reportedly launched a full-service mobile app — called GA DCSS — specifically designed for making child support payments. The app also permits parents to “review payment history, view scheduled appointments, and receive notifications/alerts on important information regarding their cases,” according to the Georgia Department of Human Services.
New Jersey doesn't have an equivalent to Georgia's app to date. Our residents have three general ways to facilitate support payments… The traditional method is by direct pay. Traditionally, this most simplistic of arrangements involved the payor writing a check (or handing cash) to the payee on a weekly, biweekly or monthly basis as dictated by the Court's Order or, alternatively, the party's consent agreement. It's also the quickest to get started since it doesn't require significant amounts of paperwork and processing time like the other options which we'll discuss below. The problem with this process should be obvious: (1) the payor has a more difficult time proving that payments were made, and (2) the payee has no independent way to guarantee enforcement of the obligation. Hence, direct pay might work for divorced couples who've maintained relatively good relations but, as a general matter, we discourage most of our clients from adopting a pure direct pay system. When direct pay is utilized, we advise clients to set up a debit account wherein the payor can directly deposit the funds; this step enables both parties to maintain a record of the payments and avoid future trouble. The second option involves direct pay through a county probation office. Instead of sending a check to the payee directly, the payor will send a check to the probation department which, in turn, will make a record of the payment and disburse the funds to the payee. The benefit here is clear: both the payor and the payee have a clear way to prove payment (or non-payment) should a dispute arise. Both parties can track payments online and print out a history of payments for their personal records or, if need be, as an exhibit attached to a court motion. Still, although probation does offer a series of enforcement services, it's not an easy or quick guarantee of payment when the payor is determined to dodge his or her obligation. The third method (and the one which we recommend to most clients) is payment through wage execution.
There's nothing easier for most clients than to simply have the exact support amount withheld from their paycheck. There's also no chance of “forgetting” to pay when it occurs automatically. That's not to say there aren't downsides. Some clients don't want their employers to know about the garnishment and, rightly or wrongly, believe there is a stigma associated with wage garnishment. The only true drawback occurs when the payor is unemployed or is not a W-2 employee; it's usually impossible to employ this method in situations where payors own their own businesses or receive 1099's. Which method is best for you is highly circumstantial.
Do you have questions about your New Jersey child support case? Help is only a quick phone call or e-mail away. We're here to walk you through the process and achieve a best-case outcome given the facts of your case. If you have any questions regarding the determination of income for child support, the collection or payment of child support, or any family court matters generally in the State of New Jersey, please contact us online today or call (856) 546-1350 for a confidential consultation with one of our skilled family court lawyers. Don't go it alone!