New Jersey Child Support: Trust Summit Divorce Attorneys
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New Jersey Child Support

Ceconi & Cheifetz, Summit Family Lawyers

New Jersey Child Support
New Jersey Child Support

New Jersey Child Support

Ceconi & Cheifetz, Summit Family Lawyers

The duty of parents to provide for the maintenance of their children is a principle of natural law. A child has a fundamental right in obtaining continued parental care and support. The right to child support is based on this fundamental interest which belongs to the child and not the custodial parent. The determination of New Jersey child support is governed by the New Jersey Child Support Guidelines which presumes the following:

  1. Child Support is a continuous duty of both parents
  2. Children are entitled to share in the income and continued success of both parents
  3. Children should not be the economic victims of divorce or out-of-wedlock birth

New Jersey adopted an “income shares” approach to allocating child rearing expenses. The “income shares” approach provides that each parent bears responsibility for a pro rata share of child support based upon the parent’s net income. 

How New Jersey Child Support is Calculated

The New Jersey Child Support Guidelines are based upon the net income of the parties and are applied to all families up to the sum of $3,600 per week as a rebuttable presumption. The guidelines are rebuttably applied on the basis that the award reflects a correct amount unless a party provides proof that a circumstance exists that makes the guidelines-based award incorrect or inappropriate in the particular case. Any time the guideline calculations are modified up or down, a statement of reasons for the deviation and the amount calculated under the guideline shall be provided on the Child Support Guidelines. New Jersey child support is generally calculated based upon the income/income imputation of the parties, the number of children, nature of the parenting schedule, including overnights and allocation of medical, and other direct expenses paid by a parent for their child.

In high income cases where the guidelines do not apply, a supplemental amount must be added to the guideline’s number to account for the excess income. In making a determination as to the amount to be paid by a parent for their child beyond the Child Support Guidelines, the Court considers the following factors:

  1. Needs of the child
  2. Standard of living and economic circumstance of each parent
  3. All sources of income and assets of each parent
  4. Earning ability of each parent including educational background, training, employment skills, work experience, custodial responsibility for training including the cost of training, the cost of providing child care and the length and time and cost of each parent to obtain training or experience for appropriate employment
  5. Need and capacity of the child for education including higher education
  6. Age and health of the child and each parent
  7. Income assets and earning ability of the child
  8. Responsibility of the parents for the Court ordered support of others
  9. Reasonable debts and liabilities of each parent and child
  10. Any factors the court may deem relevant

When New Jersey Child Support Ends

Generally, support will end upon the emancipation of a child which is defined as when they conclude the fundamental dependent relationship between parent and child are no longer within the parental sphere of influence. Emancipation is not dependent upon the child reaching a specific age. Attaining 18 establishes prima facie but not conclusive proof that the child is independent.

In determining the allocation of higher education for a child, particularly college, the following criteria are applied:

  1. Whether the parent, if still living with the child, would have contributed to the cost of the requested higher education
  2. The effect of the background, values, and goals of the parents on the reasonableness of the expectation of the child for higher education
  3. The amount of the contribution sought by the child for higher education
  4. The ability of the parent to pay that cost
  5. The relationship of the requested contribution to the kind of school or course of studies sought by the child
  6. The financial resources of both parents
  7.  The commitment to an aptitude of the child for the requested education
  8. The financial resources of the child including assets owned individually or held in custodianship or trust
  9. The ability of the child to earn income during the school year or on vacation
  10. The availability of financial aid in the form of college grants and loans
  11. The child relationship to the paying parent including mutual affection and shared goals as well as responsiveness to parental advice and guidance
  12. The relationship of the education requested to any prior training and to the overall long-range goals of the child

Child support is modifiable on changed circumstances or the maturity of the child. Title IV-D cases are reviewed every three years and consider a passage of time that results in presumptive changed circumstances. However, retroactive reduction of a child support order is prohibited.

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