Understanding New Jersey Child Support Laws

When a couple with children decides to divorce, it can complicate the financial and emotional factors of raising children. The parents are obligated to agree upon a parenting-time schedule, including overnights, pickup and drop-off times and locations, holiday parenting time and extended summer parenting time. The court mandates that the parties engage in parenting-time mediation, and if that is not successful, a Family Court judge will make the decision either in the context of a pretrial motion or in a divorce trial.

New Jersey Child Support Laws

Each state has its own child support laws, rules and regulations that determine how much each parent owes to support their children. New Jersey believes that the child or children should benefit from both parents’ incomes. The State of New Jersey takes the position that no child should suffer just because their parents made the decision to divorce.  Both parents are expected to be working on a full-time basis unless compelling, unusual circumstances prevent a parent from doing so.  In the event that a parent refuses to work, the court will impute income to that parent for the purpose of calculating the child support according to the New Jersey Child Support Guidelines.

Calculating Child Support Using the Income Shares Method

The State of New Jersey uses the Income Shares Method when calculating how much child support is owed by each parent.  New Jersey will combine both parents’ net weekly incomes while determining the child support owed based on the percentage of overnight custody, daycare expenses and which parent is paying medical insurance expenses. This includes income from multiple sources, such as: Hourly wages, salary, and certain forms of unearned income, including investment earnings and unemployment. The parent of alternate residence (PAR) pays to the parent of primary residence (PPR) child support money either through direct pay to the other parent, the New Jersey Child Support Center or wage execution through the County Probation Department.

Determining Child Support in Unique Cases

Just as each couple’s divorce is different, so are the financial and living circumstances involved with each case. While New Jersey generally does utilize the income shares method when determining child support, there are a few situations that could affect the total amount of child support owed. These could include one or both parents who have very high incomes, above the New Jersey Court Rules Appendix IX child support figures;  Fifty-fifty overnight parenting time which requires a special calculation; and extremely low income for one or both parents which places one or both below 105% of the U.S. Federal Poverty Guideline. Additional costs that could also reduce one or both parents’ calculated child support obligation include unreimbursed medical expenses, tuition costs, educational or training expenses, and the cost of special care for children.

However, using an alternative calculation method requires a request to consider the unique situation with the court. If you are dealing with a unique financial or child custody situation, it might be a good idea to work with an experienced lawyer.

Once a child support total is determined, the individual is expected to pay that cost monthly until the child turns 19 years of age. There are other situations that could end the ruling before that, but special petition or request is often required first. It is also possible to modify the amount owed, especially when income or living situation changes.

Contact a Voorhees Family Law Attorney for a Consultation About Child Support and Child Custody Laws in New Jersey Today

If you are thinking about filing for divorce, or if you have already started the divorce process and are dealing with another matter such as child custody, child support, or division of assets, you need to speak with a qualified attorney. The New Jersey family law attorneys at the Law Offices of Daniel K. Newman represent clients throughout the state, including Camden, Cherry Hill, Gloucester Township and Winslow Township. We understand how challenging this time can be for you, which is why we will fight hard to protect your interests, and the interests of your loved ones, throughout the legal process. Call us at (856) 309-9007, or fill out our confidential contact form to schedule a consultation. We have an office conveniently located at 1202 Laurel Oak Rd #207, Voorhees, NJ 08043.

The articles on this blog are for informative purposes only and are no substitute for legal advice or an attorney-client relationship. If you are seeking legal advice, please contact our law firm directly.