Both parents have a legal obligation to provide for their children’s financial support under the New Jersey Child Support Guidelines. The Child Support Guidelines consider many factors, including the custody/parenting schedule (including overnight visits), all sources of income of both parents, and many other factors that can ultimately impact the amount of child support.
The New Jersey Child Support Guidelines that considers several factors when determining child support. These factors include the number of children, the amount of time that the child spends with each parent, the amount that each parent earns health insurance for the child, payment for private school or college, among other considerations.
In most circumstances, the primary residential parent receives child support from the other parent. The guidelines were established, and continue to be updated, based upon the data gathered by economists, who endeavor to estimate what percentage of net income earned by both parents in a family who resides together is generally spent on the child or children in the family. Once the total amount of support is calculated, the support is apportioned between the “parent of primary residence” with the “parent of alternate residence” based upon each party’s income and amount of time the child is with each parent. Depending upon the parenting time schedule, either the sole or shared child support guidelines will be applied.
Child support consists of three components for a child’s support needs: fixed expenses, variable expenses and controlled expenses. In calculating child support each parent’s contribution towards the cost for work-related child care and health insurance are taken into account.
Fixed expenses, which represent 38% of child support. These costs occur even when the child or children are not with the custodial parent. For example, this portion of child support encompasses the child’s portion of mortgage or rent payments, property taxes, maintenance, utilities, household furnishings, etc.
Variable expenses account for 37% of child support which include entertainment, food and transportation costs. It also includes personal care products, books and magazines and school supplies, sports and hobbies and other typical expenses. His does not include summer camp, tutors, sports or other extraordinary extracurricular activities.
The remaining 25% of the total amount of child support are labeled Controlled expenses, which are traditionally determined by the primary custodial parent. This category includes the children’s clothing, diapers, laundry, and footwear, entertainment, etc.
Children are entitled to support from both parents based on their parents’ income regardless of their relationship status. Child support continues until the child’s emancipation or as specified in a Court order or the parties’ Agreement.
Child support is subject to modification based on a change of circumstances, including but not limited to, an increase or decrease in the parties’ incomes, a change in the parenting schedule or the children’s maturation.
Under New Jersey Law, both parents have an obligation to contribute towards their children’s college expenses based upon multiple factors, including the parties’ financial ability, the child’s aptitude, and the cost of the anticipated education.
There are instances when the Court will not solely rely on the Child Support Guidelines: in particular when the parent or parents are high wage earners. In those cases, it is up to the parent receiving support to explain to the Court why they are seeking additional child support, if the parents cannot agree between themselves.
The child support guideline amount does not include child-care costs, which, if they are work-related, are added to the basic child support amount. The Guidelines will calculate the net amount (after tax credits) of work-related childcare and add it to the Guidelines to be apportioned based upon income.
While the Court has established guidelines to calculate child support, there are additional factors that need consideration and special situations that may apply in calculating for child support. Lomberg Del Vescovo & Pollak’s experience will assist in calculating and establishing child support based on all the factors of your unique circumstances.
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