New Jersey parents getting divorced may be surprised to learn that determining child support payments is not an easy task. However, the New Jersey Department of Human Services has developed guidelines that are designed to make the process easier.
The first step is determining income of both parents. All types of income from lottery winnings to unemployment benefits must be counted for each parent. Parents whose only income is from disability or welfare payments are exempt from sharing in child support. If one parent is able to work, but is not employed, the court determines the amount of income they are capable of earning and counts that. After taxes and any deductions are considered, the court will combine the income of each parent, and then determine the amount of child support based on the number of children the couple has.
The court will decide how much each parent should pay based on the ratio of each parent’s income to the total. Other factors considered include child care and health insurance expenses and how much time the child spends with each parent under a visitation agreement. The child support guidelines also provide that either parent has enough money to live on after support payments are made.
While the court bases its decision on the best interests of the child, parents may dispute this decision if they disagree with it. They must, however, show a good reason for doing so and may need assistance from a divorce or family law attorney to help them make their case.
Source: NJ Department of Human Services, “The Eight Major Steps In Calculating Child Support In New Jersey“, November 12, 2014