While it is fairly common knowledge that New Jersey utilizes Child Support Guidelines to assist in determining the proper amount of child support a parent should pay for their child, it is not often clear what is covered by that child support. This confusion may lead to disputes between parents or it may mean that one parent is not paying enough to support their child under the tenets of the law.
Very simply, the child support is intended to cover the basic needs of the child, i.e. shelter, transportation, food, clothing, and such related items in accordance with your respective income level. Obviously if you earn more, it is presumed you can provide a little more for your child. Most Guidelines calculations will also include the cost for medical insurance for the child. The person receiving the child support is expected to cover the first $250 out of pocket for medical expenses each year as well. The cost for work-related childcare can also be included in the Guidelines, as well as special, foreseeable, recurring expenses.
Questions arise, however, regarding what extracurricular activities are covered by basic child support and whether the cost for the child’s auto insurance or vehicle is included when they become licensed. What about all those extras such as school trips, pictures, yearbooks or prom? These issues get trickier and often require forethought in the negotiations to keep you out of court later. For these reasons, it is good to have an experienced attorney reviewing these issues with you to give you direction on the best approach for your situation and what is allowed under the current law. Posted by Elizabeth A. Calandrillo, Esq.