One of the silver linings to being a divorced parent with visitation or custody is not having to miss out on your child’s milestones. Such as the day they receive the coveted driver’s license.
The flip side to that coin is that you also won’t miss out on paying for those milestones, either.
The point is that after seventeen years of being the family shuttle service, you are now handing those keys over and assuming a whole new assortment of worries.
One question in particular stands out: How will child support cover the cost of those worries?
Child Support and New Drivers
When it comes to licensed children, New Jersey Child Support Guidelines use the following section:
Essentially, the Guidelines are saying that if your child is merely taking over your vehicle, costs should essentially remain the same and existing child support will already include those costs.
As always, there are caveats and questions.
The Car Insurance Question
While the Guidelines are clear on an existing vehicle, if you buy your child his or her own car, the cost of purchasing it, along with all other related expenses, even insurance, would be considered “add-ons” and not part of regular child support.
Does that seem backwards? It might.
The problem with automatically taking insurance costs into account is that premiums are often influenced by the vehicle being insured, as much as the person listed to drive it. Older cars being insured with liability only will incur minimal costs whereas high end cars carrying full coverage (with a teenager listed as a covered driver) will be substantially higher.
How does the Court address this?
On a case-by-case basis.
Fichter v. Fichter Provides Guidance
In the case of Fichter v. Fichter, the Judge made a decision that not only recognizes the inequity of insurance, but allows the Court to deviate from the Guidelines when it comes to the matter of adding newly licensed children to already existing insurance policies.
While this sounds like a cut and dry precedent, it is important to recognize that the Court is not required to deviate from the Guidelines. The good news is they can.
What makes the difference between will and can? Presenting the case before the court in a way that shows good cause and meets the standards required.
If car insurance for your child is on the horizon, don’t leave this potentially expensive question to chance. NJ has some of the highest vehicle insurance rates in the nation.
Contact us today to get a family attorney experienced with protecting your rights and your future.