New JerseyChild Support Laws
New Jersey Child Support Guide :: Table of Contents
Child support is an ongoing payment by a non-custodial parent to assist with the financial support of their children. Child support payments are often determined during the process of dissolution of a marriage through divorce, though the only requirements for requesting child support payments are establishment of paternity and maternity.
Child support is handled on a state level, and New Jersey has a set of specific child support guidelines. On this page you can learn about how child support is calculated in New Jersey, how custody split and extraordinary costs affect child support payments, and more.
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New Jersey uses the "income share" method for calculating child support payments, which is designed to ensure that both the custodial and non-custodial parents contribute to their child's upkeep.
New Jersey's child support formula directly accounts for parents who share custody of a child, and support payment amounts are connected to the custody split. Other special situations accounted for under New Jersey's child support law include childcare costs and college costs. These costs may be additions to the basic New Jersey child support order.
Which Factors are Considered in Determining Child Support?In so doing the court shall consider, but not be limited to, the following factors:
- The actual need and ability of the parties to pay
- The duration of the marriage or civil union
- The age, physical and emotional health of the parties
- The standard of living established in the marriage or civil union and the likelihood that each party can maintain a reasonably comparable standard of living
- The earning capacities, educational levels, vocational skills, and employability of the parties
- The length of absence from the job market of the party seeking maintenance
- The parental responsibilities for the children
- The time and expense necessary to acquire sufficient education or training to enable the party seeking maintenance to find appropriate employment, the availability of the training and employment, and the opportunity for future acquisitions of capital assets and income
- The history of the financial or non-financial contributions to the marriage or civil union by each party including contributions to the care and education of the children and interruption of personal careers or educational opportunities
- The equitable distribution of property ordered and any payouts on equitable distribution, directly or indirectly, out of current income, to the extent this consideration is reasonable, just and fair
- The income available to either party through investment of any assets held by that party
- The tax treatment and consequences to both parties of any alimony award, including the designation of all or a portion of the payment as a non-taxable payment
- Any other factors which the court may deem relevant.
Child support can be arranged out of court by a mutual support agreement between the parents, or can be decided in New Jersey family court through a child support order. In New Jersey, a number of factors are taken into account when determining the amount of child support to be paid in court. Here is an explanation of the two most common methods used to calculate basic child support amounts.
Income Share Method
Under the income share model, the court uses economic tables to estimate the total monthly cost of raising the children. The non-custodial parent pays a percentage of the calculated cost that is based on their proportional share of both parents' combined income.
Example: The non-custodial parent of one child has an income of $2,000 per month, and the custodial parent has an income of $1,000 per month. The court estimates that the cost of raising one child is $1,000 a month. The non-custodial parent's income is 66.6% of the parent's total combined income. Therefore, the non-custodial parent pays $666 per month in child support, or 66.6% of the total child support obligation.
Percentage Of Income Method
This method of calculating child support is simple - a set percentage of the non-custodial parent's income is paid monthly to the custodial parent to cover basic child support expenses. The percentage paid may stay the same, or vary if the non-custodial parent's income changes.
Example: The non-custodial parent of one child has an income of $2,000 per month. The court orders a flat percentage of 25% of the non-custodial parent's income to be paid in child support to the custodial parent. Therefore, the non-custodial parent pays $500 per month in child support. If the non-custodial parent's monthly income changes, the dollar amount they pay in child support will change as well.
New Jersey Child Support FAQ
- How does having shared custody of the child affect child support in New Jersey?
- How are extraordinary medical costs treated by child support in New Jersey?
- How are child care costs treated by child support in New Jersey?
- Does child support cover college education expenses in New Jersey?
- How is child support enforced in New Jersey?
- What are child support arrears?
- How are child support payments taxed in New Jersey?
How does having shared custody of the child affect child support in New Jersey?
All states have a method of modifying the amount of child support owed in cases where the custody agreement provides for joint or shared custody of a child between both parents.
New Jersey law accounts for shared custody of a child directly in the child support formula used to calculate payment amounts. This means that, in cases where custody is shared, the amount of child support paid by the paying parent will be reduced according to the amount of time they have custody of the child.
How are extraordinary medical costs treated by child support in New Jersey?
Unlike most states, New Jersey has no special provisions for extraordinary medical costs in their child support guidelines. The cost of medical care is lumped in to other costs of providing for the child when child support calculations are being made.
How are child care costs treated by child support in New Jersey?
Due to the high costs of child care for a single payment, New Jersey has specialized guidelines that consider child care costs separately from the general costs of raising a child for the purposes of calculating child support payments.
Does child support cover college education expenses in New Jersey?
New Jersey state law does allow courts to order the non-custodial parent to contribute to their child's college education upon graduating high school. Whether post-secondary education support is ordered, and the amount that may be ordered, varies depending on the situation.
How is child support enforced in New Jersey?
In the state of New Jersey, child support is enforced by the state child support agency. The state agency handles the location of non-custodial parents, enforcement of support orders, and the handling of unpaid child support arrears.
What are child support arrears?
Child support arrears are the amount of child support that is delinquent, or unpaid, by the noncustodial parent to the custodial parent. Child support arrears may be collected by the state through wage garnishment, bank levy. withholding of New Jersey welfare benefits, or other collection methods.
How are child support payments taxed in New Jersey?
Under IRS guidelines, the recepient of child support does not need to pay federal tax on child support payments, and the payer of child support cannot deduct their child support payments. This differs from the federal taxation of alimony payments, which are treated as taxable income by the receiver and are deductible by the payor. New Jersey tax law may vary on tax treatment of child support.