The New Jersey Child Support Guidelines allow the courts to determine the level of financial support that a child with divorced parents is entitled to. The concept of child support exists because it is the philosophy of the state that a child should still benefit from constant financial support of both parents even if the child’s parents are not together. The guidelines attempt to ensure that a child with divorced parents is entitled to the same financial opportunities as a child of an intact family.
The guidelines are used by the courts to both create the initial child support order and modify orders if necessary. The court will apply the guidelines to each family situation and will presume that it is a proper arrangement unless one of the parents proves otherwise.
What Expenses Are Covered By Child Support?
It comes as no surprise to parents that children can cost a lot of money, but the question for the courts is how do we determine the actual amount? The following categories represent the things that a parent who receives child support will use that money to pay for.
Of course we begin with the basics: food, clothing, and shelter. Next, the child needs health care. This includes things like unreimbursed health care costs up to $250, medicine, and other medical items. Then, a child needs to be transported around to various activities, so transportation costs are included. Entertainment needs are also included, as are any miscellaneous costs, on a case by case basis.
Can Additional Expenses Be Added To Child Support Orders?
Aside from the basic categories covered above, there are additional financial categories that do not necessarily apply to each child, but can be added if applicable. If the parents work, the cost of child care can be added. Health insurance expenses can be added as well, as can any unreimbursed health expenses over $250. Additionally, the court can include any other relevant support categories as necessary. For example, if a child has special needs, additional expenses may need to be covered for that child.
How Do Courts Determine Each Parent’s Share of the Expenses?
The amount of support that a child is entitled to is based on the average amount that an intact family will spend on their child, as well as the financial means of both of the parents. The court will examine financial documents from each parent to determine the appropriate level of support for each parent.
Adjustments to The Support Order
A change in the circumstances of the parents can necessitate an adjustment to the child support order. A parent having subsequent children, or paying child support for other children may trigger a modification to the support order. Additionally, changes in parenting time can merit an adjustment to the child support order. If the parent who pays child support spends more time with the child, it may not make sense to continue paying the same level of support. In each situation the parent requesting the change in support must prove his or her change of circumstances in a hearing.
For specific questions about your own NJ child support issues, contact the Law Offices of Peter Van Aulen today at (201) 845-7400 for a free initial consultation.