If My Ex and I Move Back In Together, What Happens to Child Support?

child support after reconciliation

You and your ex have been divorced for two years and he has been paying regular child support ever since you split up. But now you are both thinking about reconciling your relationship and moving back in together. If you do, what happens to child support? 

  • The New Jersey Child Support Guidelines: It’s likely that when child support was calculated when you and your ex broke up, the New Jersey Child Support Guidelines, were used to derive the amount. The Guidelines are a standard computer program that is used by all courts in the state. They take into account many factors such as out-of-pocket medical expenses for the child, day care expenses and number of overnights spent with the children. Once all the relevant information including both parent’s income is put into the Guidelines, a child support amount is figured out. If there is a significant change in circumstances after the child support is calculated, then the guidelines can be rerun and a new amount may result.
  • Child Support and an “Intact Family”: Generally speaking, judges here in New Jersey would not order child support be paid by one parent to the other if they are living in the same household as the child. This is called living in an “intact” family. The theory is that if both parents are in the same home with their child, they are naturally supporting the child by jointly paying for rent, utilities, groceries, clothing and all the other needs of the child. Even if one parent is a “stay at home” parent and the other works out of the home, the courts consider the contribution of that “stay at home” parent just as valuable as the cash brought in by the other parent.
  • Child Support and Number of Overnights: The Guidelines were created by the court system to make an estimation of the costs of raising a child when the parents no longer live together. This is the reason why the number of overnights are included in the Guidelines as a factor that can change the child support amount. The more overnights a child spends with a parent paying support, the lower the support amount will be, generally. If you are all living together, then there are no “number of overnights” for either parent any longer.
  • Is support ever ordered when parents are living together? In New Jersey, there have been a handful of cases where a court ordered that one parent pay support to the other parent even though they were all living under the same roof with the children. In these rare situations, the parent ordered to pay the support had been completely withholding money from the household purposefully and refused to contribute any of their income to the family. The other parent was barely able to support the home and purchase basic items for the children. In this type of scenario, child support likely would be ordered by the judge.

The basic rule of thumb to remember with regard to child support is that both parents are required to contribute financially toward their children’s needs. If both parents are contributing to the household they share with their family, then formal child support would naturally not continue.

If you are considering reuniting with your ex and living with them and you are concerned that you can’t get by without the support, talk with a family law attorney about your situation. Please contact us to schedule your initial consultation with one of our family law attorneys familiar with child support and the Guidelines so that you can make an informed decision. 

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