New Jersey Child Support Guidelines are extremely complicated, put together in about a hundred pages of principles, standards and considerations. The schedule of child support obligations, which is one of many appendices to the statute, is merely a starting point in determining parents’ child support obligation. The premise underlying the lengthy list of considerations for calculation of child support is that both parents have an obligation to support their child.
As one would expect, child support starts with a calculation of both parents combined net income. This includes regular income, pensions, retirements, interest, disability, basically, income from absolutely all sources. When you deal with a regular paycheck every week, and nothing more, the determination of combined net income is simple. But where there are numerous sources of income or self-employment, there are certain expenses used as deductions to that income to determine the net income. Gross, of course, is all income received prior to reducing it by taxes and certain allowable expenses. Net income is the amount after those deductions.
WHAT BASIC NJ CHILD SUPPORT IS SUPPOSED TO PAY
The purpose of child support is to pay certain of the child’s expenses, not the expenses of either parent. The basics include:
- Unreimbursed healthcare expenses up to $250 annually per child
- Transportation costs
- Various other items
ADD-ONS TO BASIC NEW JERSEY CHILD SUPPORT
There are frequently expenses for a child beyond the basics listed above that the court can and will add to the basic child support obligation. These can include, but are not limited to:
- Childcare need during work hours
- Health insurance for the child
- Medical expenses that are predictable and recurring, beyond the $250 listed above
- Educational expenses can be considered for special education or private education
- Any other expenses the court deems appropriate
REDUCTIONS TO NJ CHILD SUPPORT
In the interests of reasonableness and a need to assure children and families involved in support cases are reasonably treated, there are considerations for reductions to child support obligations in based upon other specific obligations or upon amount of parenting time the non-custodial parent may have. Some primary considerations are as follows:
- Having other legal dependents, such as a payor’s family, could be a basis for reducing a child support obligation
- If the payor has other child support orders for other children that could warrant a reduction in the new child support obligation
- The payor’s paying alimony or maintenance could be a basis for reducing a child support obligation
- Social Security benefits paid for the child through the payor can eliminate, or at least greatly reduce, a child support obligation
- When a non-custodial parent has parenting time of more than 104 overnights annually, the court uses a different worksheet, the shared parenting worksheet. The result is a reduction in the child support obligation to be paid.
NEW JERSEY CHILD SUPPORT GUIDELINES APPLICATION FOR COMBINED INCOME OVER $187,200
The court stops applying the New Jersey child support guidelines when the combined parental net income exceeds $187,200. Any child support based on combined parental income over that amount is solely in the discretion of the court. The court’s consideration is to determine what amount, if any, is needed to support the children as the parties’ financial circumstances allow.
If you need to discuss NJ child support guidelines, please call the Law Offices of Peter Van Aulen for a free initial consultation at 201-845-7400.