New Jersey Child Support Guidelines

Guest Column By:

By Thomas A. Roberto, Esq.
Associate, Obermayer Rebmann Maxwell & Hippell LLP

The payment of child support reflects the continuous duty of both parents to financially support their children. Generally, most child support obligations in New Jersey are calculated pursuant to the New Jersey Child Support Guidelines.

Philosophy

The premise underlying the NJ Child Support Guidelines is multifold: child support is a continuous duty of both parents; children are entitled to share in the income of both parents; and children should not be economic victims of divorce or out-of-wedlock birth.

 

Application
The Guidelines must be applied in all cases where child support is being established or modified. But, the Guidelines-based support award can be disregarded or adjusted, by a court or agreement of the parties, to accommodate the needs of the children or parents.

 

How to Calculate
Child support is calculated based on a number of considerations which are input into the Guidelines program to arrive at the child support award. Specifically, the Guidelines take into consideration each parent’s income, each parent’s overnight time with the child, alimony, mandatory retirement contributions, union dues, child’s health insurance, other legal dependents and other potential factors.

 

What is Included?

The Guidelines-based support award includes a child’s share of expenses for housing, food, clothing, transportation, entertainment, unreimbursed health care up to $250 per child per year, and other miscellaneous items. Certain other expenses, such as child care, may be added to the Guidelines by a court or agreement of the parents.

 

Modifying Child Support

Child support can be modified based upon a change in circumstances which is substantial and not merely temporary. Some such changes may include, but are not limited to, an increase or decrease in income, loss of employment, illness or disability or maturation of a child.

 

Terminating Child Support

The parental duty to financially support a child continues until: the child turns age 19 (with certain exceptions), is deemed emancipated or until a court orders otherwise. The former basis for termination, a child reaching age 19, stems from the new Termination of Child Support Statute (N.J.S.A. 2A:17-56.67) which went into effect February 1, 2017. A person seeking to address a child support obligation, particularly in regard to the new statute, should consult experienced family law counsel.  

 

Thomas A. Roberto is an attorney at Obermayer Rebmann Maxwell & Hippel LLP’s Cherry Hill office. He focuses his practice on all aspects of matrimonial law, including but not limited to issues of custody, parenting time, child support, alimony and spousal support, equitable distribution, domestic violence, and prenuptial agreements. His practice is located in Obermayer’s Cherry Hill office. He can be reached at 856-857-1421 or at Thomas.Roberto@obermayer.com.