How is Child Support Calculated in New Jersey?

When a couple divorces or otherwise separates, it is common for a child to live with one parent most of the time and spend certain specified time periods with the other parent. In this scenario, the primary custodial parent may be entitled to financial support for the child from the other parent. If you find yourself on either side of this situation, you should be aware of the rules for calculating child support under New Jersey law.

Both parents have a duty to financially support their child; if the parents are married and living together, they presumably would combine their incomes and resources in order to support their child. In accordance with this concept, New Jersey law uses an income shares model , or the combined net incomes of the parents, in determining what amount of child support is appropriate in a particular case. The court first will determine each parent’s gross income, which generally includes income from most sources, including wages, salary, tips, unemployment benefits, disability benefits, workers’ compensation benefits, and even gambling winnings. The court then deducts certain necessary expenses from each parent’s gross income, such as taxes, alimony, and other child support payments, in order to arrive at each parent’s net income. The court then uses the appropriate schedule of child support awards and child support guidelines worksheet in order to determine a parent’s child support obligation. Ultimately, every child support award takes into account the average amounts that a parent spends on a child’s basic financial needs, the number of children in the family, each parent’s net income, and the amount of parenting time that the noncustodial parent spends with the child.

In addition to a parent’s base child support obligation, there are other child-related expenses that a court must consider in arriving at a final child support award. These expenses include things like work-related child care costs, health insurance premiums, and the costs of transportation for the purposes of parenting time. If a court determines that a certain expense is necessary, then the parties can include that expense in the child support calculation before a final amount of support is determined.

Calculating child support is not always as easy as it might initially seem, particularly in families with complex earnings or other unique situations. Whether your case involves the calculation of child support or another family law-related matter, our New Jersey family law attorneys can guide you through every step of the proceedings necessary to resolving your legal matter. Our role is to be here to answer all of your questions, calm your concerns, present your potential options, and help you to make any necessary decisions. At Argentino Family Law & Advocacy, LLC, we have represented the interests of countless families and children in all types of family law proceedings. Contact our office today at (973) 868-0958 or by e-mail at info@argentinolaw.com and set up a time to talk with us about your case.