Social Security Disabilty No Longer Offers Automatic Relief From Child Support in NJ
- August 30, 2012
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The New Jersey Family Court system does not accept social security’s declaration that an individual is disabled as an indication that the person cannot work at all. In Gilligan v. Gilligan, the Court decided it is the burden of the obligor to either pay child support or prove why they are unable to do so. When making the ruling, the Court considered the maximum allowable earnings an obligor parent can make without jeopardizing their social security benefits and decided it could impute to the parent the ability to earn income up to that maximum amount. Currently, $1,010 per month is the maximum an individual may earn per month without jeopardizing their social security benefits. If they are blind, a person may earn $1,690 per month without jeopardizing social security benefits. Previously, in Golian v. Golian, decided in 2001, the Court held that a party receiving social security disability was presumed unable to work to pay child support. The burden of proof was on the parent seeking support to prove the disabled individual was capable of earning money to pay for child support. Putting the onus on the party without access to medical records placed them at a disadvantage in litigation. The Court, in Gilligan, did distinguish it from Golian by stating the difference between Golian’s interest in alimony compared to Gilligan’s interest in child support. The distinction between the two cases seem to be the strong public interest in parents supporting their children. This means a declaration of disability by social security remains a valid reason to avoid payment of alimony. This blog is for informational purposes only and in no way intended to replace the advice of an attorney regarding your specific matter. If you are seeking a modification of support or someone is seeking to modify a support order imposed on you, you should consult an experienced family law attorney immediately in order to protect your rights. For more information on alimony, divorce, dissolution of civil union or domestic partnership, custody, child support or other family law matters in New Jersey visit HeatherDarlingLawyer.com.