Calculating Child Support in New Jersey

Calculating Child Support in New JerseyIn the state of New Jersey, by law, both parents of a minor child are required to provide financial support for that child in the event of a divorce or separation. It is assumed that, if the parents were still living together, they would combine their incomes to meet the child’s needs. New Jersey’s child support law seeks to bring about the same result through the payment of child support.

The Factors Used to Calculate Child Support in New Jersey

To determine the appropriate amount of child support to be paid, the court will first determine the parents’ combined net incomes. Net income is generally calculated by identifying gross income from all sources, including wages or salary, bonuses, commissions, tips, business income, interest and dividend income, disability payments, workers’ compensation, unemployment, Social Security, veteran’s benefits and severance pay. To determine net income, the court then subtracts certain payments, such as taxes and other child support paid. For a quick calculation, you can go to the New Jersey Child Support Calculator. However, if the court determines that a parent should be earning more, based on his/her education and work experience, the court can impute additional income to the parent.

There are basically two types of child support calculations in New Jersey: the sole custody calculation and the shared parenting calculation. If a minor child spends less than 105 nights per year with the non-custodial parent, child support will be calculated using the sole parenting worksheet, found in Appendix IX-C of the New Jersey Child Support Guidelines. If the child spends more than 105 nights, but less than 183 (50%) nights with the non-custodial parent, the shared parenting worksheet (Appendix IX-D) is usually used.

The child support worksheets take into consideration the basic needs and expenses of the child, such as food, clothing and shelter. Certain predictable recurring expenses, such as child care, health insurance coverage, medical expenses and even transportation for visitation (if the custodial parent relocates) can also change the support calculation.

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