Child Support

Child Support And Minor Child’s Motor Vehicle Insurance Expenses

The child support, family law case of Fitcher v. Fitcher, 20-3-9234, Chancery Div-Ocean City, addresses the cost of a minor’s motor vehicle insurance.

In 2013, the State of New Jersey amended Child Support Guidelines to include additional provisions relating to the coast of motor vehicle insurance. These amendments have arguably raised further debate and questions as to whether a parent who is already paying guide-line level child support is or, is not obligated to also contribute additional cost of an unemancipated teenage child’s car insurance as a newly licensed driver. As there is apparently no case law addressing this issue subsequent to the 2013 amendments, the court addresses this issue in the case at bar. For the reasons set forth in this opinion the court holds the following: 1) Reasonable car insurance is one of the most important expenditures which two responsible parents may make for the protection of a newly licensed teen driver. 2) For an unemancipated child under eighteen years of age. New Jersey’s child support guidelines generally cover at the very least technical consideration of the general cost of “insurance” as part of family budget. A court in its reasonable direction, however may increase or otherwise adjust guideline level child support in a particular case to account for the very critical, specialized and unique nature of car insurance based upon multiple consideration and the need for both parents to financially contribute the same  furtherance of the child’s best interests. 3) For an unemancipated child over18 years of age, the court in its direction may generally determine child support under  N.J.S.A. 2A-34-23, without application of the Guidelines may direct parents to contribute to some or all  the cost reasonable car insurance as well based upon the factual circumstances of the case.

Reference: Case & Analysis, New Jersey Law Journal, 222 N.J.L.J. 677 (February 29, 2016).

Filed under: Family Law; Child Support

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