Responsibility.org reported in 2019 that there were 129 fatalities in alcohol-related traffic accidents in New Jersey. Drinking and driving can lead to life-changing consequences. State law takes vehicular homicide related to drunk driving seriously.
Among the many penalties, drivers who are under the influence and cause a fatal car accident could end up with child support obligations.
The basics of the law
Beginning in 2023, New Jersey law holds convicted drunk drivers accountable for child support if their actions lead to the death of a parent or guardian. A court will look at factors often used in determining child support. These include the financial situation of the other parent, the needs of the child and the child’s standard of living.
Payments can last until the child turns 18, graduates from high school or until the age of 21 for children who have mental or physical disabilities. The obligation is the same as with traditional child support. If the person fails to pay or is unable to pay, the payments accumulate. It is a financial responsibility the person must pay in full regardless of how long that takes.
Importance of the law
New Jersey lawmakers believe that individuals who engage in reckless behavior, such as driving under the influence, should bear the consequences of their actions. The law recognizes the financial burden placed on the surviving family and endeavors to mitigate the challenges they face.
The state aims to ensure that the children receive the necessary financial support to meet their basic needs and pursue educational opportunities. Plus, it reinforces the societal commitment to protecting children when they face the unforeseen consequences of someone else’s negligent actions.
New Jersey is committed to accountability and the protection of vulnerable children with this law. By ensuring financial support, the state endeavors to provide stability and opportunities for the affected children.