Child Support May be Adjusted for Car Insurance Expenses
An Ocean County trial court judge has recently ruled that the court, in its reasonable discretion, may adjust Child Support Guideline awards to account for the additional cost of car insurance for a newly licensed teenage driver.
In Fichter v. Fichter, the parties divorced in 2011. At that time their children were seventeen and thirteen years old. As part of their divorce agreement, dad was to pay child support in the amount of $303 per week as calculated pursuant to New Jersey’s Child Support Guidelines for both children. The agreement also provided that the parties would contribute to the seventeen year old’s car insurance. The agreement was silent as to car insurance for the thirteen year old. Mom filed a motion seeking a contribution from dad for the now seventeen year old daughter’s car insurance.
Judge Jones began his analysis by acknowledging the extensive and unresolved legal debate by lawyers over whether the Guidelines already included a contribution to the cost of a child’s car insurance or ir such costs should be treated as an add-on, supplemental expense. Ultimately, Judge Jones decided that, based upon the totality of a family’s economic circumstances, a court may deviate from the Guidelines child support figure and require each parent to contribute additional and reasonable and affordable monies toward car insurance.
At the end of his opinion Judge Jones also indicated that once the child turns eighteen and graduates from his school, but is still unemancipated, the parties should be encouraged to discuss with their daughter a contribution by her to this expense.
All of the attorneys at Domers & Bonamassa are well versed and have years of experience addressing family law issues, no matter how complicated. Contact us today at (856) 596-2888 for a private consultation. We appear in the following counties: Burlington, Camden, Gloucester, Cumberland, Salem, Mercer, Ocean, Atlantic and Cape May. Our practice areas include: divorce, custody, parenting time, child support, alimony, domestic violence, college expenses, equitable distribution, name changes, step parent adoptions, paternity issues, child abuse and neglect, prenuptial agreements, mediation and arbitration.
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