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What to Know About Child Support for Unmarried Parents in New Jersey

If you and your partner had a child together and decided to split up, you are likely wondering about the legal aspects of your situation. This is a rather common occurrence, and New Jersey courts have guidelines in place in order to determine child support and child custody. Read on to learn more.

Establishing Paternity

In the state of New Jersey, there are custody guidelines in place that apply to unmarried parents in order to protect their parental rights. When dealing with custody in these situations, it is crucial to understand that an unmarried father has no parental rights to a child unless paternity is established first. This can be done in two different ways:

  • Voluntary acknowledgment. If both parents agree on the identity of the father, he can then accept his rights and responsibilities. This can be done by putting his name on the birth certificate or with a legitimized form signed after the birth. 
  • A court-ordered DNA test. If there is a question as to who the father is or parents cannot cooperate on the issue, the father can file a lawsuit in order to establish his paternity. This can be done with a court-ordered DNA test in which saliva samples are taken from the father, mother, and child. It is important to note that the test needs a score of 95% or above to establish paternity.

Once paternity is established, the unmarried parents both have the same child custody rights to their children. 

How is Child Support Determined for Unmarried Parents?

New Jersey courts are looking out for the child’s best interests. New Jersey operates under the policy that children have a right to financial support from both parents, regardless of the relationship status of the parents. This means that children are entitled to share in the current income of both parents, which is reflected in child support determinations. For unmarried parents, the New Jersey Child Support Guidelines are used to determine child support.

These guidelines apply to parties with a combined net income between $170 and $3,600 per week. There are several factors that are also considered along with the guidelines. Some of these include:

  • The income and assets of each parent
  • The earning capacity of the child
  • The age and health of the child, and any special needs they may have
  • Debts and liabilities of each child and parent
  • The custody arrangement
  • The child’s need for further education

If you have any questions or concerns regarding child support for unmarried parents in New Jersey, contact our firm today to speak with an experienced attorney.


If you need an experienced legal team to guide you through your divorce, contact Townsend, Tomaio & Newmark L.L.C today.