Child Support

Student Loan is Not an Out-of-Pocket Expense for Purposes of Calculating Child Support

In the family law, child support case of Haymaker v. Haymaker, App. Div. 20-2-5939, the plaintiff wife appealed from a post-judgment order that required her to contribute to her daughter’s college expenses and set a child support obligation and payment of arrears. The panel reversed and remanded. It found that the judge erred in considering, for the purpose of attributing a support obligation to plaintiff, a student loan as an out-of-pocket expense for defendant since, although defendant co-signed the loan, the daughter was clearly the borrower and the person principally obligated to repay loan, repayment of the principal and interest had been deferred, and defendant was not obligated to repay the loan as a “current expense” (nor may he ever be). Further, the judge determined that there were additional unreimbursed costs associated with the daughter’s college attendance in the fall of 2013 without a factual predicate in the record to substantiate the finding. The judge also erred in imputing income to plaintiff wife where she established that her relocation and employment choices were reasonable and she was working at capacity in employment consistent with her skills and experience and was not voluntarily under-employer.

Reference: Case & Analysis, New Jersey Legal Journal, 219 N.J.L.J. 815 (March 16, 2015)

Filed Under: Family Law; Child Support; College Expenses; College Loans

Please visit our Family Law website for more information on this topic.