Divorced parents in New Jersey are legally obligated to financially support their children until emancipation. A child is most commonly deemed emancipated upon age 19 or completion of a full-time college education.
So if you’re separated or divorcing from your spouse, how much child support can you expect to pay in New Jersey?
The amount of child support is generally calculated once you and your spouse agree on a custody and parenting time arrangement. The arrangement should outline at a minimum (1) the number of overnights the children will spend with each parent and (2) which parent will have primary residential custody the children.
So generally, if you’re the “noncustodial parent,” you could expect to pay child support for your children to your former spouse.
What is your child support amount based on?
The state of New Jersey developed the “New Jersey Child Support Guidelines” to ensure that divorced parents share the financial and healthcare responsibilities of raising their children.
What is included as “income” for calculating child support?
Each parent’s total income from all sources is used. Total income includes a variety of sources, including employment income, overtime, bonuses, tips, and commissions.
Taxes and other specific deductions are then subtracted from each parent’s total income. Both parents’ net income is then added together. The child support guidelines use the parents’ combined net income to calculate the amount of child support to be paid based on the number of children. Each parent contributes to the child support amount in proportion to their respective percentage share of combined net parental income.
How do your current child expenses affect your child support amount?
The number of overnights that each parent spends with the children is converted to a percentage. This percentage is then applied to each parent’s proportional share of the above child support amount.
This is because generally, the more overnight parenting time a parent spends with the children, the greater the amount of expenses that parent is presumed to be paying for the children’s expenses while the children are with the parent.
Medical Insurance Premium
Whichever parent provides the health insurance for the children is generally entitled to a “credit” for how much that parent pays for the child’s share of the health insurance premium.
How is the child support amount calculated for higher-income families?
For parents whose combined net income exceeds the Guidelines threshold of $187,200 per year ($3,600 per week), New Jersey law requires that child support be calculated to account for the greater financial resources available and the higher expenditures typically made in higher-income families.
Therefore, for such higher-income families, a base child support amount is determined using the Guidelines formula. That base amount is then supplemented with an additional support amount based on the remaining family income, the children’s needs, and certain other statutory factors. Private elementary or high school and extracurricular expenses are examples of such expenses.
Which child expenses does your child support payment cover?
Child support payments cover specific types of expenses incurred by the primary residential parent. To found out which expenses are covered by child support, take a look at this post.
How can you calculate your child support amount under the New Jersey Child Support Guidelines?
Your lawyer can calculate the appropriate child support amount by using specialized software available to attorneys and court staff. Or you can access a New Jersey child support calculator offered on the New Jersey child support website here:
But calculating your child support amount is typically not straightforward. Essentially all components that go into calculating your child support – which might include income for you and/or your spouse, parenting time, health insurance, includable child expenses, or daycare costs – are subject to interpretation. Therefore, it’s your lawyer’s job to advise you and advocate on your behalf when negotiating with your spouse or the other lawyer to obtain the best result for you and your children.
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