NJ Child Support Attorneys
Representing New Jersey clients through child support issues
The purpose of child support is to allow the children of divorced parents to live in the manner to which they were accustomed when the marriage was intact, as much as possible. Children should be able to share in the standard of living of both parents, which is the main motivating factor behind the requirement of child support.
In September 2007, New Jersey established guidelines to aid in determining the amount of child support that must be paid, if any. As with spousal support (alimony), the traditional notion that the former husband is always the one paying child support is no longer valid. The breadwinning spouse — husband or wife — will be required to financially support the child(ren) of the marriage.
New Jersey Child Support Guidelines
The New Jersey Child Support Guidelines are based on an “income shares concept.” This concept apportions between the divorcing parents the average amounts spent on the children by intact families, in proportion to each parent’s relative income. The Guidelines attempt to allow the children to maintain their lifestyle — shelter, food, clothes, sports, clubs, activities and so on — as uninterrupted as possible after the divorce. Keep in mind, however, that the Guidelines are just that: guidelines. Your divorce attorney very well may argue for a different amount based on your particular circumstances.
With this as a backdrop, the Guidelines first divide the spouses’ roles into either Sole Parenting or Shared Parenting. In a Sole Parenting situation, the parent that has physical custody of the children generally will receive child support. This is because that parent is providing for the day-to-day needs of the child. On the other hand, in a Shared Parenting situation, where physical custody is roughly equal, the decision as to who pays child support is based upon the parents’ respective incomes and amount of time spent with the child.
Each type of parenting, Sole or Shared, has its own worksheet to be completed under the Guidelines. In both worksheets, each parent’s net income is computed separately (including spousal support as either income or a deduction, as appropriate), and then a formula is used to determine each parent’s percentage share of the family income. From there, certain financial information is entered into the calculations such as health insurance premiums, parenting time expenses, number of the child’s overnights with the parent, governmental benefits for the child, unreimbursed health care expenses and the like.
Taking all factors into account, New Jersey courts will always act in the best interests of the child.
Contact a family law attorney with your best interests in mind
If you are in need of our legal services, contact The Salvo Law Firm today.