The 8 Major Steps in Calculating Child Support in the State of New Jersey

By Victoria McGrath

When you file for divorce with children in New Jersey, the court determines child custody, parenting time and visitation rights. It also calculates the amount of child support to award, based on the parents' combined income. The New Jersey Department of Human Services outlines eight significant factors used to calculate child support. New Jersey also maintains a statewide child support system to help you recover court-ordered child support.

When you file for divorce with children in New Jersey, the court determines child custody, parenting time and visitation rights. It also calculates the amount of child support to award, based on the parents' combined income. The New Jersey Department of Human Services outlines eight significant factors used to calculate child support. New Jersey also maintains a statewide child support system to help you recover court-ordered child support.

Parents' Income

The court considers all kinds of parents' income to calculate the amount of child support it awards. In addition to each parent's employment income, the court counts overtime, bonuses, tips and commissions. If the parent is not currently employed, the court calculates both the parents' unemployment benefits and the parents' earning potential. The parents' total income from all sources counts, except for welfare and disability benefits.

Divorce is never easy, but we can help. Learn More

Paycheck Deductions

Once the court calculates the total income of both parents, it takes into consideration the amount of taxes paid and other deductions taken out of the paycheck or other income. The court determines an appropriate amount of taxes to be paid out of the earned income, regardless of what taxes are actually paid. It also accounts for mandatory deductions, such as union fees.

Remaining Income

The court adds up the amount of taxes and mandatory deductions that each parent pays and subtracts that amount from each parent's individual income. Both parents' remaining income is then added together. The court uses their combined net income to calculate the amount of child support to be paid, based on state guidelines. The state guidelines outline the minimum amount of basic child support required, based on the parents' income level and their number of children.

Basic Child Support

The court determines the percentage that each parent must contribute to the basic child support amount. If both parents contributed an equal amount of income to the family during marriage, they split the child support obligations 50/50 during divorce. If one parent provides 100 percent of financial support to the family, while the other parent cares for a disabled child, the court can require the one parent to pay 100 percent towards child support. The higher earner generally pays a higher percentage of the child support.

Additional Child Support

The percentage each parent contributes towards the basic child support amount, often applies to the additional child support costs. Additional child support expenses include health care, dental care, childcare, special needs and tuition. These expenses are added on to the basic child support award. If these costs are not assigned to a parent individually, both parents share the costs.

Parenting Time

The court also determines the percentage of parenting time for each parent, and it considers that percentage in its child support calculations. If one parent takes sole parenting responsibility, the other parent is generally required to provide more support. A custodial parent who retains sole custody of a child often needs more financial support from a non-custodial parent, because of increased childcare cost and reduced work hours.

Poverty Tests

When the court calculates child support based on the parents' income, it must also take into consideration the standard of living of the parents and the child, to ensure that neither parent nor child suffers from extreme poverty. Although the child's needs do come first, the court also considers a parent's ability to pay the child support without extreme hardship.

Child Support Award

A final child support award is based on the parents' income, minus taxes, deductions and adjustments for parenting time. The state guidelines are intended to provide a basic amount of child support, to cover a child's necessities. In order to maximize a child support award, you must document all additional child support expenses and present that evidence to the court.

Divorce is never easy, but we can help. Learn More
Child Support Guidelines in Florida

References

Related articles

How to Figure Up Child Support for Arkansas

Arkansas is one of the states that determines child support based on the noncustodial parent's income, without regard to the custodial parent's income. This base support amount may be adjusted up or down to promote the welfare of the children and to compensate for certain expenses of the noncustodial parent.

Will My New Spouse's Income Be Considered in Determining My Child Support Amount in Pennsylvania?

Knowing what factors a court will consider when calculating child support gives parents an idea of what to expect if they remarry. In Pennsylvania, a spouse is not required to support someone else's children, but one of the factors a judge will look at is the parent's ability to pay child support. Therefore, if more of the noncustodial parent's income becomes available as a result of the remarriage, since another person now shares in the expenses, a portion of this newly-available income may be tapped for child support, increasing the child support obligation.

The Florida Divorce Health Insurance Deduction

In a Florida divorce case, state law replaces "custody" with a time-sharing principle based on how many overnights a child spends with each parent. If the divorce involves child support, the contribution of each parent to health insurance premiums may become an issue. Depending on who's paying the insurance charge, the court may adjust the monthly support amount owed by one parent to the other.

Get Divorced Online

Related articles

New Jersey Child Support Questions

In New Jersey, as in other states, when a child lives with a parent after divorce that parent does not bear the ...

What Percentage of Income Does Child Support Take for One Kid?

Each state's laws determine how much child support a non-custodial parent must pay after a divorce, and the rates and ...

Formulas to Determine Child Support in California

When a California couple with children divorces, the court determines how much child support the non-custodial parent ...

Child Suport Guidelines in Arizona

If you have children and you're facing divorce, count yourself lucky if you live in Arizona. The state's statutory ...

Browse by category