Confused About Child Support Calculations? What You Should Know
Raising children costs money. Most assuredly, you’re either nodding your head in agreement – or thinking that first assertion sounds like a gross understatement. In the meantime, you could be confused. How exactly are child support calculations computed in New Jersey?
No doubt you already know that your children have the right to financial support from both parents. As an aside, they are actually due much more than weekly support payments. They are also entitled to the love, affection, and guidance of both parents.
In a certain sense, the latter plays into how the court determines child support. One of the first considerations in determining the custody arrangement made by the parents or ordered by a family court judge.
There are a few different types of child custody in New Jersey. And, parenting time also plays a role in determining child support payments. (Previously, parenting time was referred to as visitation. It represents the time that non-custodial parents spend with their children.)
Child Support Guidelines
In New Jersey, most child support calculations are decided using a worksheet developed by the court system. An experienced family law attorney will determine your prospective obligation based on a few factors. You will need to provide answers to the following questions:
- Is there an existing court order regarding child support or custody?
- What is/will be the custody arrangement between the parents?
- What are the gross weekly earnings of each parent?
- How much does each parent pay for withholding taxes or union dues?
- How many times a year does the child spend overnight with each parent?
- Are monies expending for health insurance or child care?
Of course, the number of children eligible for support is factored into the formula used to determine support payments. Also, alimony payment and receipt also become part of the equation – as do existing child support orders for other children.
The Child Support Guidelines are relevant for both new orders and modification of existing ones. However, the court may decide not to use the guidelines in select matters. For starters, the guidelines only allow for a combined net weekly income of $3600. The court may use its discretion to supplement child support more than the minimum prescribed.
In the meantime, there is a possibility that parents make very little income. In some cases, the court may determine that this represents a temporary situation and impute income. This requires the judge to assess the situation and apply a fair number that that reflects the amount the parents could be earning.
In matters where the parents combined net income is less than $180 per week, the court may order support payments as low as $5.00 per week.
In most cases, it is more expensive for parents to live apart than support their children in the household. That said, this is often necessary for many reasons. If you are concerned about your obligations or entitlement to child support, the Law Offices of Anthony Carbone can assist you. Give us a call to schedule an appointment.