The amount of child support that a noncustodial parent pays to a custodial parent is typically based on the New Jersey Child Support Guidelines. The purpose of the Guidelines is to split the cost of raising children from birth to age 18 fairly between parents — keeping in mind that “fairly” does not necessarily mean “equally.” These Guidelines are based on the premise that the financial support of children is the duty of both parents, and that no child should be an economic victim of divorce.
In determining child support, the Court generally follows the Guidelines to determine how much money it will take to raise a child depending on that child’s age and the parents’ income. The cost is then divided proportionally based on income, unless special circumstances apply, such as:
- The child has special needs
- The household has more than six children
- Educational costs
- Un-reimbursed medical expenses of either parent
The New Jersey Child Support Guidelines apply only to couples with a combined annual net income of between $8,840 – $187,200. If the income of both parents exceeds $187,200 ($3,600/week), the Guidelines specify that $3,600/week should be used as the minimum income level, with the Court then adding a discretionary amount based on a number of factors, including but not limited to:
- Needs of the child
- Standard of living for each parent
- Total assets and income of each parent
- Each parent’s earning ability
- Who has custodial responsibility for the child
- The educational needs of the child
- Age and health of the child and each parent
- Total assets, income and earning ability of the child
- Other court-ordered support responsibilities of either parent
- Total debts and liabilities of each parent and child
The Guidelines presume that the child lives in just one household; however, if parenting is being shared — which is defined as the child spending at least 104 nights per year in the non-custodial parent’s home — the Court will determine child support based on the Shared Parenting Guidelines.
It is important that you do not wait too long to retain an attorney when you are facing a family law issue. Delays can cost you valuable legal rights, and you want to make sure that you have the advice and support you need to make the best decisions for you and your family long after the divorce settlement is reached. Contact us today for your free consultation.