A common question asked by New Jersey parents either receiving or paying child support is, what exactly does that monthly support check cover? Under state law, child support is considered to be the duty of both parents and children are entitled to share the income of both parents.
New Jersey child support guidelines are specific as to what expenses are covered by child support. Paragraph 8 of the New Jersey Rules of Court Appendix IX-A provides a comprehensive list of the expenses covered by child support:
Mortgage principal and interest payments or home equity loans, property taxes, insurance, refinancing charges, repairs, maintenance, rent, parking fees, property management or security fees, expenses for vacation homes, lodging while out of town, utilities, fuels, public services, domestic services, lawn care, gardening, pest control, laundry and dry cleaning (nonclothing), moving and storage, repairs on home, furniture, major appliances, purchase or rental of household equipment of tools, postage, laundry or cleaning supplies, cleaning and toilet tissues, household and lawn products, stationery, all indoor and outdoor furniture, floor coverings, all small appliances and housewares (except personal care appliances), all household textiles (e.g., linens, drapes, slipcovers, sewing materials, etc.), and miscellaneous household equipment (e.g., clocks, luggage, light fixtures, computers and software, decorating items, etc.).
All food and non-alcoholic beverages purchased for home consumption or purchased away from home (including vending machines, restaurants, tips, school meals, and catered affairs). Non-food items (e.g., tissue papers, alcoholic beverages, cigarettes) are not included.
All children’s clothing (including school uniforms), footwear (except special footwear for sports), diapers, repairs or alterations to clothing and footwear, storage, dry cleaning, laundry, watches, and jewelry.
All costs involved with owning or leasing an automobile including monthly installments toward principal cost, finance charges (interest), lease payments, gas and motor oil, insurance, maintenance, and repairs. Also, included are other costs related to transportation such as public transit, parking fees, license and registration fees, towing, tolls, and automobile service clubs. Transportation does not include the purchase of a vehicle or expenses associated with a motor vehicle purchased or leased for the intended primary use of a child subject to the support order.
Unreimbursed health-care expenditures (e.g., medical and dental) up to and including $250 per child per year are included in the schedules. Such expenses are considered ordinary and may include items such as non-prescription drugs, co-payments or health care services, equipment or products. The parent’s cost of adding a child to a health insurance policy is not included in the schedules.
Fees, memberships and admissions to sports, recreational, or social events, lessons or instructions, movie rentals, televisions, mobile devices, sound equipment, pets, hobbies, toys, playground equipment, photographic equipment, film processing, video games, and recreational, exercise or sports equipment.
Personal care products and services (e.g., hair, shaving, cosmetics), books and magazines, school supplies, cash contributions, personal insurance, and finance charges (except those for mortgage and vehicle purchases).
Note that tuition for private schools, secondary, and post-secondary education is not included. However, these may be added to a child support obligation as a supplemental expense, depending on the circumstances of the individual case.
Other expenses that may be added by the court as a supplemental expense include childcare expenses, health insurance for the child, unreimbursed healthcare expenses in excess of $250 per child per year, some educational expenses, special needs of gifted or disabled children, and more.
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