In New Jersey, as in most states, guidelines have been established for the court’s use in determining the amount of child support a parent must pay to their former spouse. As a result, child support generally can be established in a uniform manner for all families in the state. One of the benefits of the child support guidelines is that it takes a large part of the conflict out of the discussions relating to the amount of support the parents pay.
In most cases the guidelines are utilized and effectively establish the amount of support. These guidelines are revisited when there are changes in the family situation, such as a child attending college or a substantial change in the agreed upon parenting plan. The actual calculations made to determine the support can be done by a mediator or attorneys. There also are support agencies, such as the New Jersey Child Support Institute, able to assist with calculations or questions relating to the child support guidelines.
The theory behind the guidelines is that both parents contribute to the support of their children but in different amounts due to income levels, the parenting arrangements for the children and other factors, such as health care costs, child care costs and extraordinary costs related to the children. The guidelines produce the child support results, which are based on statistics generated by a socioeconomic study for the courts of New Jersey.
One of the frequent questions related to child support is when does it end? Generally, child support ends with the “emancipation” of the child, which occurs upon any of the following:
- Living on one’s own
- Entry into the armed forces
- Becoming self-supporting and above the legal age
- Completion of college or secondary education
- Attaining the age of 18
Child Support Statutes in New Jersey
In determining child support in New Jersey, the courts consider specific statutory factors.
- The needs of the child
- The standard of living and the financial circumstances of both parents
- The financial resources, needs and obligations of both parents
- The earning power of each parent
- The child’s need and capacity for education, including college
- The age and health of the parents and the child
- Any income and assets and earning ability of the child
- Whether either parent has a responsibility to support others
- Any debts and liabilities of the parents or the child
- Any other relevant factors
New Jersey child support can be calculated by a mediator or the party’s attorney by using a Child Support Worksheet or one of the Child Support programs available.
Child Support Enforcement
New Jersey law establishes specific procedures to enforce a child support order and obligation. Child support in New Jersey is seen as the right of the child and the enforcement of this support is enforced by the state. More information about New Jersey Child Support Enforcement can be found on the New Jersey Judiciary website.