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NJ Child Support: Understanding Child Support Guidelines

The Child Support Guidelines apply to support for all children whose parents combined net income is between $8,840.00 annually ($170.00/week) and $187,200.00 annually ($3,600.00/week). The guidelines amount, within this span of income, is presumed to be the correct amount of child support, though there are reasons to deviate from guidelines, including but not limited to:

  • Educational expenses of the children
  • Unreimbursed medical expenses of either parent
  • One parent’s household having more than six children
  • Special needs of the child or children
  • Specific Shared Parenting arrangements that have a different set of Guidelines

Goals and Inclusions in Child Support Calculations

Child support is intended to cover certain expenses of the child, and is an obligation of both of the parents. The goal is supposed to be to afford the child the same opportunities that would have existed if the family remained together. The expenses to be covered by basic child support are:

  • Food, housing, clothing and transportation
  • Up to $250 of unreimbursed health care each year, per child
  • Entertainment
  • Various miscellaneous expenses

An interesting thing about child support is that there is a presumption that an increase in income of the payor results in an equal and simultaneous increase in the child or children’s needs.

Shared Parenting Guidelines

Guidelines presume that the child or children live in one parent’s household, but there is a different set of Guidelines applied when the parenting is shared such that the child is overnight with the non-custodial parent for 104 or more nights per year.

Shared Parenting Guidelines are not presumed to be the correct amount of child support. Rather, these Guidelines are completely discretionary, meaning that the court has complete freedom to use them or vary from them at any level.

Support Obligation in Addition to Basic Guideline Amount (Add-Ons)

The Guidelines amount does not take certain costs for the child, and therefore, must be added onto the guidelines amount set. This will be done in a pro rata fashion, with a percentage liability for the amount adjusted between the parents:

  • Health insurance for the child
  • Childcare costs when work related only
  • Recurring healthcare expenses that are not reimbursed beyond the $250 listed above, when those expenses are both recurring and predictable
  • Other expenses approved by the court.

Recent Change in Law: Child Support Ends at 19…. Unless

As of February 1, 2017, a new law goes into effect which terminates child support at 19, unless:

  • The child is still in high school, is disabled, is fulltime college, vocational school or graduate school student
  • If there is a separation agreement that makes support beyond 19, or if the court has ordered continued support, then it will continue beyond 19 years old

As the new statute is put into effect, the first terminations of child support for children between 19 and 22 before July 31, 2017 will be on August 1, 2017 rather than their birth date. Thereafter, it should be on the 19th birthday of the child at issue. If child support needs to continue for one of the reasons set forth above, the continuation must be requested, it is not automatic.

Do keep in mind that if your child support order is for multiple children, one of which is turning 19, or aging out for another reason, you may need to file papers to modify the order for the amount to cover the remaining child or children.

If you need to discuss your child support matter, please call the Law Offices of Peter Van Aulen for a free initial consultation at 201-845-7400.






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