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Essex Vicinage Probation Division: Child Support Enforcement

The task of enforcing court ordered child support to meet the needs of New Jersey’s children is built on a series of partnerships. The Superior Court’s Probation Division’s Child Support Enforcement unit works with federal, state and local agencies. Together, these agencies fulfill the legislative mandate to collect child support.

Parents who owe and are owed child support should be aware of the following:

1. Child Support Guidelines : Child support is calculated according to the New Jersey Rules of Court and the Child Support Guidelines. The guidelines ensure that the income of both parents, and special needs of the children are considered when calculating child support.

2 The Deadbeat Parents Punishment Act of 1998 calls for coordination of the efforts of the Sheriff’s Department, Probation Division and the Courts in order to execute child support bench warrants.

3. Lien Proceeds from settlements, judgments and inheritances may be intercepted to satisfy outstanding child support arrearages.

4. Interstate Enforcement Remedies ensure enforcement over state lines.

5. Centralized Collections relieves the Probation Divisions from posting child support payments. Effective October 1, 1999, all payments are now sent to the N.J. Family Support Payment Center, P.O. Box 4880, Trenton, New Jersey 08650.

6. Cost of Living Adjustment: Effective October 2000, child support obligations may be automatically adjusted every two years to reflect changes in the cost of living index.

Other collection and enforcement remedies include:

1. Immediate Income Withholding: All child support orders, whether wages, unemployment benefits, worker’s compensation, commissions, retirement benefits, are subject to payment by income withholding.

2. License Suspension: If a child support bench warrant has been issued, the driver’s license of the person owing child support may be suspended without prior notice. The person owing support may also face the suspension of a professional or occupational license if the payments are six months or more behind.

3. Asset Seizure: This method allows for a levy to be placed upon the financial account (i.e. checking or savings account) if the child support arrearage equals three months of payments.

4. New Hire Reporting: All employers are required to report information on all new employees to the state. This information is matched with information in the automated child support enforcement system (ACSES) and can automatically generate a wage withholding.

5. Credit Reporting: The name of any parent delinquent in payment, and the amount of past due support can be reported to credit reporting agencies.

6. Lottery Intercept: If a parent owes more than $1,000 in child support arrears and wins $600 or more, the prize may be intercepted and applied to the child support account.

7. Tax Intercept: If a parent owes child support arrears and is entitled to a federal or state tax refund, homestead rebate or property tax rebate, these refunds or rebates may be intercepted to pay the amount past due.

8. Passport Denial: If a parent owes past due child support equal to or greater than $5000, a new passport or renewal can be denied by the U.S. Department of State.

Presently the Essex Probation Division’s Child Support Enforcement Unit monitors over 43,000 cases with a staff of 153. Last year the unit collected over $83,000,000 in child support.

The Essex Probation Division’s Child Support Enforcement Unit was recognized by the State Central Child Support Enforcement Offices with the 1999 “Best County of the Year” for outstanding performance.

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