In New Jersey, child support is often vital for raising a child on your own. As such, divorcing (or otherwise separated) parents need to know how the state calculates what the non-custodial parent must pay. This can be broken down into a few simple steps.
First is calculating the income of both parents. This not only includes wages, but also includes overtime, winning the lottery, unemployment benefits and nearly any other form of income. If one parent chooses not to work when they are physically capable of doing so, the court will decide how much they are capable of making. This also takes into consideration court-appointed deductions and taxes.
After all of that is calculated, the net income of both parents is calculated. From that, the basic child support amount is decided based on how many children are included. That amount is split based on the individual income of either parent. If one parent is disabled or otherwise on welfare, the other may end up paying the total of child support.
There are other factors that may be included in the calculations. These include how much time the children spend with each parent, healthcare costs, extracurricular expenses and other costs. The courts will also take into consideration how much each parent can afford to pay so neither parent is left in poverty. Above all, however, the best interests of the child is considered. After all factors are considered, the court will issue a final support order that states how much each parent must pay.
If you are facing a child support structure that seems unfair, it may be wise to consult a divorce attorney. They may be able to show the courts why a change in the child support decision is appropriate.