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Understanding the Child Support Guidelines in New Jersey
Getting off to the right start to gain understanding of the Child Support Guidelines in New Jersey means knowing exactly who you are, and understanding your legal position in a child support matter as defined in the Guidelines.
While you may not know for sure who will be paying child support, or how much child support a court will order, your best choice may be speaking to a family law expert, a lawyer who knows how it usually works for all parties involved in child support matters.
The Guidelines are long and complex, and they are also interpreted by precedent, or previous court decisions that may impact your own case in one way or another.
Even if you chose to read the New Jersey Child Support Guidelines and draw some conclusions regarding your own situation, it’s very likely you’ll miss out on legal ramifications a family lawyer could easily provide, and advice that could save you a lot of time.
Here are examples of the various positions that parties in a child support matter may occupy: Custodial Parent with sole parenting responsibility, Custodial Parent with shared parenting responsibility, and Non-Custodial Parent with shared parenting responsibility. And in some cases, a parent may have no stipulated custody rights, yet still have the obligation to pay some child support each month.
In New Jersey, the Guidelines are very specific about how much time your child or children spend with each parent, which time allocation often affects the amount of child support owed or received.
Since the court will take into consideration the income of each parent in determining the proper calculations of child support payments, the Guidelines offer checklists to help you determine your income. These checklists are lengthy, and professional help can help you cut through any confusion you might have before revealing all your income sources, including those that you may not be required to reveal.
The goal of the state and the court is ultimately to achieve fairness for all parties, and most importantly for the children for whom child support is ordered. The Child Support Guidelines are complicated in an attempt to be clear and fair on behalf of the children.
New Jersey is an equitable distribution state, meaning that the division of property in a divorce is to be done fairly, not necessarily equally. The court can take into consideration any factor it deems relevant when dividing property, but it must consider certain factors, such as how long the couple was married and the age and health of both spouses, the income or property brought to the marriage by each spouse, the standard of living that was achieved during the marriage, and the extent to which one spouse may have deferred career goals, among others.
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