How is Child Support Calculated in New Jersey?

Posted March 28th, 2024.

Categories: Blog.

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During a divorce or separation, New Jersey courts strive to keep in mind the best interest of the children involved. This is true when determining child custody and child support payment decisions. A paying parent may question how child support is calculated. There is a variety of contributing factors that have to be considered when making such a decision. For legal advice or representation in your child support case, contact a Cherry Hill child support attorney.

Does Child Custody Impact Child Support?

Child support payments cannot be determined without first considering the child custody arrangement. One parent will generally be considered the custodial parent, who has custody of the child for the majority of the time. They are the ones who will receive child support payments from the other parent because they will be more financially responsible for the child based on the time spent together.

The more evenly split the child custody agreement is, the less money the paying parent will owe in child support. If the custodial parent has sole custody and the paying parent rarely sees the child, the payments will be more per month. If the paying parent sees the child regularly and therefore contributes financially when they are in their custody, the monthly payments will likely be less.

What Does a Court Consider When Making Their Calculation?

To determine a fair amount of monthly child support, a court will look at all relevant information from both parents. That can include a deep dive into financials, lifestyle, debts, and more. Information that a court may consider when making their calculation includes:

  • The financial needs of the child
    • This can include child care, educational costs, medical expenses, monthly food and clothing budgets, housing, special needs, and more.
  • The income of both parents
    • A court will examine each parent’s salary, bonuses, overtime, severance pay, gifts, lottery winnings, etc.
  • The percentage of time that each parent spends with the child
    • Parents rarely have a true 50/50 split, even with a joint custody agreement. The court will want to know specifically how much time the child is with each parent.
  • The lifestyle the child had before the separation or divorce if applicable
    • A child’s standard of living should not decline significantly after a separation.

The court will also look at any debts either parent has, their expenses unrelated to their child, and the paying parent’s overall ability to pay.

Does the Number of Children You Have Affect How Child Support is Calculated?

In short, yes the number of children you and the co-parent share will affect how much your monthly child support payments will be. Child support payments are a percentage of the paying parent’s income. That percentage is decided after considering all of the above factors. However, if the custodial parent has more than one child to financially support, then the paying parent will have to help subsidize those extra costs. The percentage of income that is subject to child support payments will increase for each additional child that you and the custodial parent share.

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