In New Jersey a Child Support Agreement that Deviates from the Guidelines is Superseded by the State when the Payee is a Recipient of TANF

Let’s say you and your ex have an agreement, whether verbal or written, that you will pay to your ex $300 in child support, when according to the Guidelines, you should be paying $800. Well, this is obviously agreeable to the payor.

Your obligation will certainly change if your ex becomes a recipient of TANF, i.e. welfare. TANF stands for Temporary Assistance to Needy Families.

N.J.S.A. 44:10-49 provides that the signing of an application for benefits under the Work First New Jersey program shall constitute an assignment of any child support rights pursuant to Title IV-D on behalf of individual assistance unit members to the county agency.

The assignment shall terminate with respect to current support rights when a determination is made by the county agency that the person in the assistance unit is no longer eligible for benefits.

The determination of the amount of repayment to the county agency and distribution of any unpaid support obligations that have accrued during the period of receipt of benefits shall be determined by regulation of the commissioner in accordance with federal law.

Since the payee (often the mother of the child) has assigned her right to receive child support to the State, the State has the ability to receive reimbursement directly from the payor (usually the father) in an amount pursuant to the Child Support Guidelines. Your agreement with your ex to pay child support at $300 is now meaningless, at least until your ex no longer receives welfare.