Child Support is determined generally in the State of New Jersey through guidelines for families earning a total combined income of $187,200. Information on the child support guidelines may be found at the link below.
There are a number of factors that are taken into account by the guidelines but the main two are income and overnights. The more income a party has, the more likely they will pay child support. The more overnights a parent has, the more likely they will receive child support. If for example, the parties have shared parenting time, an equal amount of overnights, then the party making more income may pay a small amount of child support depending on the amount of income difference between the parties and the overall income for the two parties.
A child support calculator may be found at this link:
Parties get credit for who is paying health insurance in the guidelines and daycare or aftercare programs may also be included in the guidelines so the proportionate share based on income of that cost may be apportioned between the parties.
The New Jersey Court Rules appendix exhaustively describes the basis for the child support guidelines and deviations that may occur from those guidelines.
Child Support may be obtained through an FD docket or domestic filing of a case for support without a divorce, so that, even if parties are not divorced, a party may file for child support. If a party is not ready to get divorced, but the parties have separated, a party may seek child support from the other party prior to filing for a divorce.
Upon the filing of a divorce, the child support guidelines and child support comes into play if the parties have separated. Pending the divorce, child support should be paid and it may be determined by the guidelines or the parties may choose to go outside the guidelines for a variety of reasons. Often, pending a divorce, the parties try to maintain the status quo in terms of paying all of the bills that were being paid for prior to separation.
In terms of an uncontested divorce, the parties should be mindful of the following:
- Number of overnights for each party
- Gross income of each party
- Who is paying for healthcare for the children
- What daycare or aftercare is necessary for the children and its cost
- Extracurricular expenses for the children e.g. sports, music, tutoring
Upon making the determination of the above costs, the parties may determine under the guidelines what amount of child support may be paid. Generally, the guidelines are attached to any property settlement agreement or matrimonial settlement agreement, regardless of whether or not the parties are going to use them or go outside the guidelines.
Parties often go outside the guidelines for a variety of reasons. One may be that the parties may have agreed upon more in child support being paid than alimony or spousal support. Be mindful that child support is not tax deductible for the party paying it, but alimony is. Alimony is also taxable income for the party receiving it, but child support is not taxable to the party receiving child support.
In an uncontested divorce, the parties may agree upon child support only after they have agreed upon the amount of alimony to be paid, as since alimony is income to the party receiving it and deductible to the party paying it, it has to be factored into the guidelines or however the parties determine the amount of child support to be paid.
Call us at 732-390-0480 or 201-242-1119 for a free consultation as to your child support issues in our Fort Lee or East Brunswick offices with our NJ divorce lawyer or NJ divorce attorney.