Determining Paternity for Child Support in New Jersey
New Jersey has very specific laws regarding collection and payment of child support. In many cases paternity has to be established before a Court can enter an Order for you to pay or receive child support. This is New Jersey’s method of ensuring that men are not charged for child support if they are not the biological father of the child and have not made a voluntary declaration of paternity.
In New Jersey, paternity may be established in a number of ways:
- The child was born during the marriage or within 10 months after a divorce. If a child is born during these time frames, a court will presume that the husband is the father of the child.
- Voluntary Acknowledgement. Also known as a Certificate of Parentage, executing this document is the simplest and most cost-effective way to establish paternity because both the father and the mother show that they are in agreement as to who the father of their child is. This acknowledgement is filed with the Department of Health and is essentially close to impossible to retract.
- A paternity action is filed. When parents can’t agree on who the father of the child is, a paternity case may be filed.
Paternity claims may only be made by:
- The child at issue;
- The child’s guardian or legal representative;
- The child’s mother;
- The man who believes he is the father of the child; or
- The county welfare agency if the child is receiving state assistance.
- The court will likely require genetic testing to determine paternity if there is no agreement on who the father is. If an alleged father refuses to undergo the genetic test, his actions may serve as evidence against him in a paternity case.
What are the requirements for genetic testing in NJ?
In order to establish paternity in New Jersey, the following must be met:
- The test must be run by a state-approved facility.
- The man is presumed to be the father if the test results show a 95% or higher probability.
- Either party can contest the results in writing within 10 days of receiving the results.
- The court may require payment for the testing in the event of a contest or if the man tested is found to be the father, unless the court determines that he cannot afford to.
Child Support Determinations once Paternity is Established
Once paternity of the child is finalized, a court will order some form of child support and will enforce the father’s obligations to pay. If you would like to arrange a consultation about your paternity case, contact our law firm at 201.968.5700 anytime.