Child support ensures the well-being of children whose parents are no longer together. In New Jersey, several considerations influence the amount of child support payments.
Understanding the relevant factors is essential for parents navigating the complexities of divorce or separation.
Income of both parents
The court assesses each parent’s earnings, including wages, bonuses and self-employment income. The goal is fair distribution, which means each parent’s responsibility aligns with their financial resources.
Number of children
As expected, supporting multiple children requires a higher financial contribution. State child support guidelines take this into account, adjusting the payments as needed for larger families.
Parental time-sharing plays a vital role in determining child support. If one parent has primary physical custody, the non-custodial parent typically bears a larger financial burden. With shared custody, the court may adjust payments based on the time each parent spends with the child.
Health care and child care expenses
Parents share responsibility for the child’s healthcare and childcare costs. The court factors these expenses into the child support equation, ensuring that both parents contribute to the well-being of their child. The U.S. Department of Labor estimates that center-based infant child care averaged up to $17,171 per year in 2022.
The court may consider other necessary expenses, such as education, extracurricular activities and special needs. Parents share these costs fairly depending on each person’s financial capacity.
The court aims to ensure that the child has the same standard of living they had before the separation. Parents can work towards a child support arrangement that prioritizes the best interests of their child or ask the state to decide if they cannot agree.