Free Your Guide to the New Jersey Judiciary Child Support Enforcement Program - New Jersey

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This brochure is published by the Child Support Enforcement Services Administrative Office of the Courts New Jersey Judiciary

New Jersey Judiciary Your Guide to the New Jersey Judiciary Child Support Enforcement Program

Stuart Rabner, J.A.D. Chief Justice Glenn A. Grant, J.A.D. Acting Administrative Director of the Courts John P. McCarthy, Jr., Esq. Director, Trial Court Services Robert P. Sebastian Assistant Director, Probation Services Richard Narcini Chief, Child Support Enforcement Services Customer Service Committee Office of Communications and Community Relations (609) 292-9580

Revised 05/2008 CN: 10752-English

Welcome to the Child Support Enforcement Program of the New Jersey Judiciary. The purpose of this guide is to provide information to our customers about our child support program. A glossary is provided in the back of this brochure to assist you with the child support terminology. Important numbers you will need when you contact Probation Child Support Enforcement Staff. Your case number:




Your Guide to the New Jersey Judiciary Child Support Enforcement Program

Your Guide to the New Jersey Judiciary Child Support Enforcement Program



The Child Support Program is responsible for locating obligors, establishing paternity, establishing and enforcing support and medical orders, and collecting child support payments. There are many entities involved in the program working in a partnership role. Each unit has a different role in the process. Examples of these entities are: The Department of Human Services, Division of Family Development is the state agency responsible for the child support program. The Family Division of the Court is responsible for the establishment of the paternity, support and medical orders. The Board of Social Services locates obligors and files nonsupport complaints on active Temporary Assistance for Needy Families (TANF) with the Family Division of the Court. The Probation Child Support Enforcement (PCSE) unit monitors and enforces these orders and collects support payments.


Your Guide to the New Jersey Judiciary Child Support Enforcement Program

Your Guide to the New Jersey Judiciary Child Support Enforcement Program


The Child Support automated hotline allows you to use a touchtone phone to answer child support questions. You can use the system to answer common questions and get information about your case such as payment details and account balances. How to use the Hotline Dial: 1-800-621-KIDS (5437) and follow the prompts. The Child Support Hotline can be used by either parent, other custodial parties or agencies. You can use the system 24 hours a day, seven days a week to find out information on your case. The Child Support Hotline will allow the local child support agency to serve more people and provide faster service to the public. To use the Child Support Hotline, you must use a touch-tone phone. The system will greet you with a menu of available choices. Simply listen and select the menu option you want by pressing the correct button on your phone. You must have your case number to access case level information. For the best results, review the information provided here and keep it handy.

Obligee /Payee /Custodial Parent The person, agency, institution who is to receive child support. Obligor /Payor /Non-custodial Parent The person that is ordered to pay child support. Offset The amount of money taken from a parent's State or Federal income tax refund to satisfy a child support debt. Public Assistance See TANF. TANF (Temporary Assistance to Needy Families) Time-limited public assistance (welfare) payments made to low income families that provide parents with job preparation, work, and support services to help them become self-sufficient. It was formerly known as AFDC (Aid to Families with Dependent Children). Triennial Review Support orders, three years or older, may be reviewed by the Board of Social Services. Venue The court in which the original action was brought.


Your Guide to the New Jersey Judiciary Child Support Enforcement Program

Your Guide to the New Jersey Judiciary Child Support Enforcement Program


CS Number (Child Support Number) This is the identifying number assigned to your child support case for use in the ACSES system. Docket Number An identifying number assigned to each case by the court. Employer A payor who is responsible for income withholding from the obligor's wages. Genetic Testing (DNA Testing) A comparison of the inherited factor or genetic makeup of the mother, child, and alleged father to determine legal paternity. Guidelines A standard method for setting child support obligations based on the income of the parents and other factors determined by state law. Jurisdiction The legal authority which a court or administrative agency has over particular persons and over certain types of cases, usually in a defined geographical area. Income Withholding / Wage Withholding / Garnishment This is a procedure where automatic deductions are made from wages or other income to pay the child support obligation. Income withholding has been mandatory since the enactment of the Family Support Act of 1988. Modification Any change or adjustment to a previous support order. Obligation The amount of money to be paid as support by a non-custodial parent and the manner in which it is to be paid.

On the Internet This site is maintained by the Judiciary and provides office locations, mailing addresses, telephone and fax numbers, office hours and services provided.

This site is maintained by the Department of Human Services and provides account balance and last payment information. To access the information, you will be required to enter the case number and your social security number. This site also provides general program information.

This site provides extensive information regarding the Federal Program(s). It also provides individual state information.


Your Guide to the New Jersey Judiciary Child Support Enforcement Program

Your Guide to the New Jersey Judiciary Child Support Enforcement Program


This section outlines actions that may be taken when an obligor stops making payments and becomes delinquent. Also, the information explains reviews and adjustments that may occur on the case. Not all of these actions may be appropriate for all cases. Enforcement action varies on every case and many variables are considered when deciding when and how to enforce court ordered payments. The enforcement of support ordered obligations includes:

Arrearage (Arrears) Past due, unpaid child support owed by the non-custodial parent. If the parent has arrearages, he/she is said to be in arrears. ACSES (Automated Child Support Enforcement System) This is the New Jersey Child Support Program computer system that tracks the child support account. Assignment of Support Rights The legal procedure by which a person receiving public assistance agrees to turn over to the state any right to child support in exchange for a cash assistance grant and other benefits. In order to receive assistance, you must agree to the assignment of your support. Bench Warrant An order from the court empowering the proper legal authorities to arrest a person for failure to appear for a hearing or failure to comply with a court order. COLA (Cost of Living Adjustment) This is an automatic biennial (every two years) upward adjustment (based on the consumer price index) of any child support order that was entered on or after September 1, 1998. Complaint The formal written document filed in a court where the complainant (obligee/custodial parent) lists the names of the parties, the allegations and the relief sought. Court Order The decree issued by a court of law. A court order related to child support will dictate how often, how much, and what kind of support a non-custodial parent is to pay.

Ensuring that current child support is paid. Collection of past-due child support. Ensuring health care coverage. Collecting spousal support obligations.

Income Withholding Federal and State law require, regardless of whether payments are late, that all child support orders established or changed after Oct. 1, 1990, be subject to mandatory payroll deduction. When a case is under income withholding, PCSE staff will send a notice to the employer instructing that the court-ordered amount, including any additional amount toward the arrears, if applicable, must be deducted from the obligor's paycheck. The amount withheld from the obligor's income may or may not equal the amount ordered since the Federal Consumer Credit Protection Act restricts the amount that can be withheld. If the obligor has more than one child support order, the total amount withheld from that obligor's income would be allocated among all the cases. Unemployment / Workers' Compensation Benefits If the obligor is receiving unemployment benefits, PCSE staff will arrange to withhold child support from the unemployment payment. The same applies to workers' compensation benefits of an obligor who owes child support.
6 Your Guide to the New Jersey Judiciary Child Support Enforcement Program

Your Guide to the New Jersey Judiciary Child Support Enforcement Program


Credit Reporting An obligor who owes $1,000 or more in past-due child support could have this fact reported to credit agencies. The obligor will be notified that this information will be sent. The notice states that the obligor can request a review if he or she disagrees with the amount owed by sending a written request within 35 calendar days of the date on the notice. The Administrative Office of the Courts, PCSE Services section then reviews the request and either resolves the matter or forwards it to the supervising Probation Division for appropriate action if necessary. Lottery Prize Intercept If an obligor owes past-due child support and wins $600 or more in the lottery, the amount owed in child support will be deducted from the winnings and applied to the past due child support. A notice will be sent to the obligor advising of the Child Support Program's intent to take the lottery winnings. The notice will include:

The amount of past support owed. Notification that an appeal based on wrong information must be made in writing within 10 business days of the date of the notice. Notification that if no appeal is received, the amount on the notice will be withheld and applied to the child support debt. The Division of Lottery will send any excess lottery winnings directly to the obligor. Tax Refund Offset If the amount of unpaid child support meets or exceeds the limits below, and the obligor is entitled to a federal or state tax refund or a homestead rebate, that refund may go to pay the child support debt.
18 Your Guide to the New Jersey Judiciary Child Support Enforcement Program Your Guide to the New Jersey Judiciary Child Support Enforcement Program 7

Federal Tax Offset Criteria for submittal: In public assistance cases, the amount of unpaid support must be at least $150. In non-public assistance cases, the amount of unpaid support must be at least $500, and there must be a child under eighteen years old on the case. If you had ever received public assistance and there are arrears due the public assistance agency, those arrears must be paid first. To appeal a federal tax offset, an obligor can request a review by the PCSE unit. An offset can be appealed for the following reasons: a) if the amount of arrears owed is considered in error, or b) if the return is a joint return and the other spouse is not responsible for the child support debt. For more information on federal tax refund offsets or appeals, contact your local PCSE unit or call 1-877-NJKIDS1. State Tax and Homestead Rebate Offset Condition for submittal: The amount of unpaid support must be equal to more than one month of the individual's support obligation. For state tax offset, the Division of Taxation will notify all taxpayers whose refunds or rebates are subject to offset due to past-due support. The notice will state that the taxpayer has 35 calendar days from the notice date to file an appeal in writing with the N.J. Division of Family Development. Seizure of Financial Assets Condition for submittal: The amount of unpaid support must be equal to or more than three months of the individual's support obligation and for which no regular payments are being made.

What happens if support is paid through another state? PCSE staff can monitor an order payable through another state. The other state is responsible for direct enforcement. If payments fall behind, PCSE staff must request that the other state enforce the order. The child support enforcement agency in the other state should not be contacted directly by the parties. Contact the PCSE staff currently handling the child support case. Can the child support amount ever be changed? Possibly, provided that the requesting party can demonstrate a valid reason to the court for an increase or decrease in support. A motion must be filed with the Superior Court, Family Part requesting a hearing on this issue. Such motions must be filed in the county of venue (the county where the support order was originally entered). The parties can obtain an attorney or represent themselves through a pro se packet. Information about self-representation can be obtained at or at the local Family Division. There are two other ways that an order may be changed. The first is by a Cost of Living Adjustment (COLA). The COLA is an automatic biennial (every two years) upward adjustment based on the consumer price index. This adjustment applies to child support orders entered or modified on or after September 1, 1998. The second way of changing a child support order is through a Triennial Review. The Board of Social Services may initiate a review on cases where the child support order is three years old or older. Either party may request, in writing, a Triennial Review from the Board of Social Services. The agency reviews the financial situation of both parties and determines if, based on New Jersey child support guidelines, the matter should be referred to court.


Your Guide to the New Jersey Judiciary Child Support Enforcement Program

Your Guide to the New Jersey Judiciary Child Support Enforcement Program


Before the court date, support was paid in full. Will a hearing still be held? Yes. There will be a hearing unless it is cancelled in advance by PCSE staff. Generally, despite the pre-court payment, there may still be issues that need to be addressed such as making sure that regular payments are made in the future and health care insurance is provided. If the obligee receives public assistance for the child(ren) is a hearing necessary? Even if the obligee receives public assistance benefits for the child(ren), the obligor must still pay child support. The money collected by PCSE staff is sent to the Board of Social Services to reimburse the monthly grant. A hearing may be necessary if the obligor is not paying support as ordered or has not provided health care insurance for the children to be used in place of Medicaid. The obligor was ordered to provide health insurance for the child but has not. What can be done? The obligee should contact the Probation Division that handles the case. The Probation Division may schedule a hearing to enforce the court order dealing with health care coverage. What if an interpreter is needed in court? If a party requires interpretation service, that party must contact PCSE staff before the hearing to let them know that a court interpreter is needed. This will allow PCSE staff to make arrangements in advance, instead of having the hearing rescheduled to another day. What happens if either parent moves out of the county, state or the country? The rules vary depending on the individual situation. Contact the PCSE staff that handles your case for more information.

If the obligor has money in the bank, or owns stocks and bonds, the child support office may be able to secure and seize those assets to pay the support. Financial institutions, such as banks, provide information on obligors who maintain an account at the institution. The information is matched against a delinquent obligor file from each state. This information can be obtained in two ways. Either the financial institution provides a list that the Child Support Program matches against its database, or the Child Support Program provides the institution with a list of child support debtors that is matched against the institution's records. If there is a match, the Child Support Program can freeze the account and attach the account with a lien or levy. The funds can be surrendered to the child support agency and applied to monies owed. Warrants Child support warrants may be issued for several reasons, for example:

the obligor does not appear for court dates to establish paternity or support; or the obligor does not appear for an enforcement hearing for not paying support; or the obligor disregards the terms of the court order. Warrants in child support cases are issued by the Family Court and signed by a judge. Passport Denial (P.L. 104-193) If an obligor owes past due child support equal to or greater than $5000, he or she may be denied a new passport or the renewal of a passport by the U.S. Department of State.
Your Guide to the New Jersey Judiciary Child Support Enforcement Program 9


Your Guide to the New Jersey Judiciary Child Support Enforcement Program

Judgment A child support obligation automatically becomes a judgment by operation of law on the day it becomes due and is not paid. This judgment is filed electronically with the Superior Court of New Jersey and may affect your ability to sell or purchase property because searches for judgments are conducted prior to the sale or purchase of the property. License Suspension If a child support warrant has been issued, the driver's license of the obligor may be suspended without prior notice to the obligor. If child support arrears equal or exceed the amount due for six months or court ordered health care coverage is not provided for six months, or the obligor (person paying support) fails to respond to a subpoena, the obligor's driver's, professional, occupational or recreational license may be suspended by the court after notice to the obligor.

If an enforcement hearing is scheduled who must attend? The obligor must attend the hearing. It may be in the best interest of the obligee to attend. Failure by the obligor to appear may result in a default order being entered or a warrant being issued. Is a lawyer needed for the enforcement hearing? In cases where payments are ordered payable through NJFSPC, the PCSE staff will schedule an enforcement hearing before the court. A probation officer will be present at the hearing with case records. The parties are responsible for hiring an attorney if they want legal representation. Contact your local county bar association or local Legal Services office to find out information about free or reduced cost legal services. What does the obligor need to do to prepare for the court hearing? Be prepared to document facts such as earnings and deductions from earning by bringing current pay stubs, income tax returns and employer's address and telephone number. If the obligor disagrees with what is claimed in the papers from Probation, payment records must be presented. What should the obligee bring to the court hearing? In addition to the documentation described above, the obligor's social security number, date of birth and address may be needed. Information about the obligor's employer may be helpful to the case. Any information about the obligor's assets such as property, bank accounts, and other assets may be of assistance to the judge or hearing officer in making a determination regarding the enforcement of the case. Information about lawsuits, perhaps resulting from an accident, may also be important if it involves the obligor.

For more specific information regarding the aforementioned enforcement tools, please refer to:

N.J.S.A. 2A:17, N.J.S.A. 2C:13, N.J.S.A. 5:9, R. 5:6B, P.L. 102 and 104, 42 U.S.C. 405, 408(7).


Your Guide to the New Jersey Judiciary Child Support Enforcement Program

Your Guide to the New Jersey Judiciary Child Support Enforcement Program


If the obligor is unemployed, disabled or has other changes of circumstances, does child support have to be paid? Yes. Child support payments must be made in accordance with the existing court order. The obligor is responsible for payments even during periods of unemployment and disability and may file a motion in the Family Division requesting that the court review the child support order. Unless the court rules otherwise, enforcement actions will continue. Unemployment and some disability benefits are considered available income for supporting children. An order to withhold child support from unemployment benefits will be sent to the Department of Labor and Industry, Division of Unemployment Insurance. Withheld support will then be sent to NJFSPC for distribution. Does child support terminate when the child reaches 18? In New Jersey, the child support order continues in effect until the court determines that the child is emancipated. However, there may be a provision in your order that clearly states when support is to stop. If not, it is up to either party to file a motion with the court to have support terminated. What can happen if support payments are not made? An enforcement hearing may be scheduled, which is also called an enforcement of litigant's rights. The amount of support cannot be changed at this hearing. In addition, all child support debts become judgments by operation of law and could adversely affect an obligor's credit rating and ability to buy or sell real property. Child support arrears may also be subject to income tax refund intercept, credit bureau reporting, seizure of assets and other enforcement actions. Additionally, failure to pay support as directed may result in professional and driver's license revocation, further court proceedings, and possible arrest and incarceration.

Change of Address or Employer Changes in employment status and address must be reported, in writing, to the PCSE staff enforcing your case within ten days of the change. Failure to do so may result in payment delays, unnecessary enforcement action, or your not receiving notice of actions taken in your case. Safeguard Social Security Numbers Any person who willfully and with the intent to deceive, uses a Social Security number obtained on the basis of false information provided to Social Security Administration or provides a false or inaccurate Social Security number is subject to a fine or imprisonment (42 U.S.C. 408(7)). Social Security numbers are collected and used in accordance with section 205 of the Social Security Act (42 U.S.C. 405). Disclosure of the individual's Social Security number is mandatory. Social Security numbers are used to obtain income, employment and benefit information on individuals through computer matching programs with federal and state agencies. This information is used to establish and enforce child support under Title IV-D of the Social Security Act and to record child support judgments. Cost of Living Adjustment (COLA) All orders or judgments entered, modified or enforced after September 1, 1998 shall provide that the child support amount will be adjusted every two years to reflect the cost of living.


Your Guide to the New Jersey Judiciary Child Support Enforcement Program

Your Guide to the New Jersey Judiciary Child Support Enforcement Program


In New Jersey, a court ordered obligation for child support is monitored and enforced by the Probation Division. How is child support paid? Support is paid through the New Jersey Family Support Payment Center P. O. Box 4880 Trenton, NJ 08650 The child support case has been assigned a case number that begins with CS followed by eight numbers and a letter. This number must be clearly indicated when making payments to ensure that your account is properly credited. What if either party moves or changes employment? The obligor is required to provide all address and employment changes to PCSE staff. The obligee is required to provide any change of address to PCSE staff, as the support checks will not be forwarded. Both parties are to provide this information to PCSE staff within 10 days of the change. Can payments be made directly to the obligee? No. The order requires that support payments be made through the New Jersey Family Support Payment Center (NJFSPC). There is no way for PCSE staff to know about payments that are made outside of the system and the account cannot be credited without a court order. Additionally, probation records serve as documentation to both parties and the court of the amount of support paid. Purchase of goods such as clothing or disposable diapers do not count as child support. To avoid problems, if the support order states payable through the court, then payments must be paid only through NJFSPC.

Can child support be deducted from wages and other sources of income? Yes. Federal and State Law require that child support be deducted from wages and other forms of income for any new or modified support order. Income means, but is not limited to, the obligor's commissions, salaries, earnings, wages, rent monies, unemployment compensation, any legal or equitable interest or entitlement owed that was acquired by a cause of action, suit, claim or counterclaim, insurance benefits, claims for assets of estates, trusts, Federal income tax refunds, State income tax refunds, Homestead rebates, State lottery prizes, annuities, retirement benefits, veterans benefits, union benefits or other sources that may be deemed as income. An employer can withhold only a certain percentage from wages. If an order exceeds the maximum amount the employer can deduct, the obligor is responsible for paying the difference to NJFSPC. The obligor needs to check the pay stub to make sure that the deduction is being made and is in the correct amount. Make sure all pay stubs are kept for your records. The obligor may also check the hotline or the child support website to ensure that the withholding payment is posted to the account. It is the obligor's responsibility to make sure the child support is paid. If there is a delay in payment deducted by the obligor's paycheck, the obligor must mail the payment to NJFSPC or deliver the payment to the local PCSE unit. Is there a way to check what support payments NJFSPC has posted to the account? Yes. Call the Child Support Hotline at 1-800-621-KIDS (5437). Outside New Jersey, please call 1-609-530-4930. Payments and other account information may be obtained. Payment information can also be accessed at


Your Guide to the New Jersey Judiciary Child Support Enforcement Program

Your Guide to the New Jersey Judiciary Child Support Enforcement Program