New Jersey Info

New Jersey Divorce Start Your Divorce Find Professionals New Jersey Articles Divorce Facts Divorce Grounds Residency Divorce Laws Legal Separation Property Division Alimony Child Custody Child Support Divorce Forms Process Service Grandparent Rights Forum New Jersey Products Divorce by County

New Jersey Articles

Agreements Attorney Relationship Custody & Visitation Child Support Collaborative Law Counseling Divorce/General Domestic Abuse Domestic Partnership Financial Planning Foreign Divorce Mediation Parenting Property Division Spousal Support SEE ALL

Info Categories

Contemplating Divorce Children & Divorce Divorce, Dollars & Debt Divorce Laws Divorce Process Divorce Negotiation SEE ALL

More Information

Articles Checklists Research Center Cases of Interest Dictionary Encyclopedia Encyclopedia (pop-up) Blogs

For Professionals

Advertise With Us Free Network Page Join Our Network Submit Articles Sign In

Network Sites

New Jersey Divorce Support New Jersey Divorce Online

New Jersey Child Support Overview

Children are the innocent victims of divorce. They become the center of battles over child custody, support, and visitation and face losing the only lifestyle that they've ever known, often winding up being penalized both emotionally and financially. And while good parenting and a parenting plan can help ease the emotional burden and can't necessarily be set forth in any guideline, in order to ease the financial impact, the State of New Jersey has created a series of Child Support Guidelines which were developed to "provide the court with economic information to assist in the establishment and modification of fair and adequate child support awards."

For couples engaging in divorce mediation, Child Support award calculations are performed and the subject matter discussed along with the other three major mediation subject areas of (1) Equitable Distribution, (2) Spousal Support (Alimony) and (3) Parenting Plans. The divorce mediator will use a special software program as well as information received during the course of mediation in order to help the couple determine what the guidelines say is an appropriate child support award.

What specifically the New Jersey Child Support Guidelines are comprised of and how the guidelines are calculated is a fair, albeit complicated, question and would be the subject of a much longer article than we will present here today. For those individuals who are interested in reviewing the specific state statutes surrounding child support, please refer to the New Jersey Child Support Guidelines for more detailed information.

As every family's circumstances are unique, it is always best to consult with a mediator who can help you and your spouse understand the child support guidelines in detail and determine what an appropriate amount of child support would be within the scope of your child custody arrangement. With that in mind, please note this document is intended to give a general overview of the subject matter and not to provide any specific legal advice.

The Guiding Principles Behind Child Support

There are three main principles behind the New Jersey Child Support Guidelines.

  • Child support is a continuous duty of both parents as the children belong to both of them; and
  • Children are entitled to share in the current income of both parents and not simply the parent who has custody; and
  • Children should not be the economic victims of divorce.

What's Included in Child Support and How Were the Child Support Guidelines Formulated?

For the purpose of this article, simply put the New Jersey Child Support Guidelines attempt to calculate what the average family spends to raise a child from zero until age 17 years factoring in for the child's share of expenses for housing, food, clothing, transportation, entertainment, un-reimbursed health care up to and including $250 per child per year, and other miscellaneous items. And while there is no absolute "cost" of raising children, it is inferred from a variety of factors that were considered when calculating the award amounts.

First is the amount that parents' spend on their children. The assumption being that as family income rises, spending on children increases since parents uses some of their additional income to improve the children's standard of living and provide them with comforts and luxuries not often found in households of lower economic status.

Next is that total spending on children increases with family size but larger households have lower per-person costs due to the sharing of household goods. Think of this as the "Costco or Sam's Club example" whereby a family with four children will buy items in larger quantities and enjoy a lower per-person, per-item cost than perhaps someone who buys for a single child. As the number of children rises, the cost of each child does not increase proportionately. Expenditures on two children are less than twice as much as spending on one child; three children cost less than three times as much as one child, etc.

Finally, because of the way awards are calculated, (as a percentage of family income rather than an absolute dollar amount) the New Jersey Child Support Guidelines formula avoids the problems associated with the difference in the cost-of living between states and takes into account the costs associated with raising a child here in New Jersey.

Child Support and Maintaining the Standard of Living

Although the Child Support Guidelines attempt to approximate the same level of spending on children before divorce or separation, the resulting child support awards do not guarantee that the children's standard of living will remain the same. Usually, the children's standard of living will decline since the child support award is being added to a much smaller level of base household expenditures. Less total money is available in the primary household of the child after divorce or separation since the other parent's income is no longer available. Less money means a decline in household expenditures which results in a lower standard of living. Additionally, some economies of scale are lost when one parent leaves the household.

It is important to note that the Child Support Guidelines award amounts represent the average cost of raising a child from age zero through 17 years. Studies have shown that expenditures are higher than the average for teen-aged children and lower than the average for preteen children and therefore child support payment amounts calculated may need to be adjusted from what the child support guidelines suggest. In addition there may be other items that are not included in the basic child support award amount that divorcing couples may wish to consider adding in. These items may include child care expenses, health insurance premiums for the child, private school tuition, etc. A professional mediator can help couples determine what an appropriate amount of child support for their particular situation is.

And while the New Jersey Child Support Guidelines are intended to apply to children who are less than 18 years of age, those children that are more than 18 years of age but still in high school or a similar secondary educational institution may qualify for child support. The child support guidelines may be applied (in the court's discretion) to support for students over 18 years of age who commute to college to cover the expenses associated with them living at home. However arrangements for funding tuition expenses should be made under separate agreement.

Conclusion

The bottom line is that while a couple may no longer be husband and wife, they will always be parents to their children and support for those children, in this case financial, is of the utmost importance. The New Jersey Child Support Guidelines attempt to ensure that children should not be the economic victims of divorce and help parents by providing a starting place to work from to ensure the comfort and stability of their children's financial future in a manner that is fair and equitable for everyone involved - no matter what the custody arrangement.


Was this helpful? Like our site & let us know.

Related Articles


Start New Jersey Divorce Start Your New Jersey Online Divorce Today
Easy, Fast and Affordable with a 100% Guarantee.
New Jersey Divorce Find New Jersey Divorce Professionals in Your Area:
Join the Network
New Jersey Divorce Products, Services and Solutions New Jersey Divorce Products, Services and Solutions
New Jersey Divorce Resources to Help You Through the Process.
Divorce and Custody Books Discount Divorce Bookstore
Over 100 Titles of the Best Books on Divorce & Custody.
Divorce Downloads Divorce Download Center
Instantly Download, Books, Manuals, & Forms.
Divorce Worksheet Free New Jersey Divorce Worksheet & Separation Agreement
Your Guide to Get Organized and Put Everything in Writing.
   
In New Jersey, a separation agreement is any legal document signed by both spouses outlining the terms of the separation. Subjects resolved in a separation agreement can include child support, child custody, debt allocation and asset distribution. Notarizing the document ensures its validity, since there is no such case-type in New Jersey that provides for a "legal separation." Spouses wanting child support during the separation period, however, must file a claim with the New Jersey probation department.
Divorce Lawyers & Mediators
 

Find Professionals

Easily Connect With a Lawyer or Mediator
Have Divorce Professionals from Your Area Contact You!
Enter Your Zip Code:

 

Start Your Divorce File for a New Jersey Divorce

 

Settle Your Divorce Negotiate Your New Jersey Divorce

 

Support Forum New Jersey Support Forum


FEATURED TOOL - Name Change Notification Kit (easily complete your name change without the headaches)


Limited Offer Women's Rights Manual For Divorce
Cover Price: $55.95
Your Price: $29.95
You Save: $26.00

"The Absolute Best Investment in Your Divorce"

Men's Rights Manual For Divorce
Cover Price: $55.95
Your Price: $29.95
You Save: $26.00

"Uncover Your Options and Unleash Solutions"