FAQs Concerning Child Support in New Jersey

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How are child support payments calculated in New Jersey?

The State of New Jersey has established child support guidelines that are used in determining the amount of financial support that a parent should contribute to the care of his or her child. An “income-share” formula, which takes into consideration the income of both the custodial parent (now known as th4e PPR or, Parent of Primary Residence) and non-custodial parent (now known as the PAR or, Parent of Alternate Residence), is used to calculate the exact amount due. The guidelines also take certain expenses into account, including health insurance costs for the child or children,  and child care. In some cases, the parents may agree on the amount due under the guidelines. If this is not possible, the family court will make the decision.

Is it possible to deviate from the amount that the Child Support Guidelines say is owed?

Yes, but the family court must make a specific finding, in writing, for a deviation. In such a case, the court may disregard the guidelines or make an adjustment that reflects the children’s needs and the parents’ circumstances.

Who is considered the custodial parent under the guidelines?

The parent who provides for the day-to-day needs of the child and has actual physical custody of the child is considered the custodial parent. Usually, the non-custodial parent is the one who pays child support. In cases involving shared parenting, the decision as to which parent will pay child support takes into consideration several factors, including the parents’ respective income and the amount of time that each spends with the children.

Does a change in a parent’s income affect child support obligations?

It can, but such a change is not automatic. Instead, the parent who seeks relief from the court’s current order must file paperwork ( an application to the court, known as a “Motion”)  to petition  the court to adjust the amount of child support due. In situations in which the obligor parent’s income drops substantially or the non-obligor parent’s income increases, the obligor parent may ask the court to reduce the amount of child support. If the obligor parent’s income goes up or the non-obligor parent’s income goes down, the non-obligor parent may petition  the court for an increase to the obligor parent’s child support payments.

How long do I have to pay child support?

Currently, an obligor parent must pay child support until the family court relieves him or her of the obligation. This typically happens when the obligor parent asks the court to end the support obligation when the child reaches age 18. However, this is not automatic, and the family court can require that child support payments continue until a later time. Presently, there is a bill in the state legislature that would affect this issue, but only time will tell whether the bill becomes law.

How can I speak to an attorney about getting help with a child support issue?

If you need to speak to an attorney about a possible modification of existing child support obligations, or if you need help establishing a child support obligation owed by your child’s other parent, the law firm of Goldstein Law Group is here to guide you through the process. To schedule an appointment with one of our experienced child support attorneys, call us at 732-967-6777. We represent clients in Old Bridge, Monmouth County, and the surrounding area.

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