As divorce rates continue to climb in America, family courts across the country must often decide custody battles. Custody arrangements go from commonplace to creative. Having a child spend every other weekend at one parent's home, and the rest of the time with another parent, was routine. Now nearly 20 states are considering laws that create an automatic legal presumption of joint custody. New Jersey joins these states with the proposal of Bill A-1091 (the "Bill"), primarily sponsored by Republican Assemblyman Peterson, with broad bipartisan support.
After parents separate or get divorced, states require that child support payments be made to allow a child to continue to enjoy a certain standard of living. The amount that must be paid is based on a number of factors, including the number of children, the percentage of time they spend with each parent, and each parent's gross income. In New Jersey, the amount is calculated according to the New Jersey Child Support Guidelines. The general practice is that the child support payments are entrusted to the custodial parent and that parent must use those funds for the benefit of the child. The payments are supposed to be for the child's basic needs, such as food, clothing, housing, etc. However, an issue can arise when the custodial parent is not using the money in that way.