New Jersey uses the New Jersey Child Support Guidelines to determine the appropriate child support to be paid by a non-custodial parent to the custodial parent. The public policy behind the payment of child support, is that every child has the right to share in the combined income of both of his or her parents and their good fortune. Both parents have an obligation to contribute towards the food, clothing, shelter, transportation costs, health insurance, unreimbursed health care expenses and reasonable entertainment expenses for their children.
Child Support In NJ
Child Support Guidelines
Child support is compelled whether the parties are married or not. The fact that the child’s parents are separated or divorced makes no difference. The Child Support Guidelines formulate a support number through use of a computer-based program that inputs certain information to come up with a support amount. The incomes of each party, including alimony that is paid to one spouse, the number of overnights each parent has with the child(ren), any income or benefits such as social security paid on behalf of a child, whether the paying spouse has other children from a different relationship, all affect the amount of support to be paid.
Child support terminates upon the emancipation of the child. In January of 2016, a new law was enacted that terminates child support automatically when the child reaches the age of 19. However, as with many aspects of the law, there are exceptions. Generally, these include whether the child is still in high school, whether the child is enrolled full time in college or other vocational school, or if there is an agreement that emancipation should occur at some certain date in the future.
The Enforcement of Child Support Orders
The enforcement of child support orders in New Jersey can be accomplished by a variety of means. Typically, when one spouse ceases to pay support, the other parent will file an application with the Court to compel the delinquent parent to pay. There are various remedies the Court may utilize, which include: holding the delinquent parent in contempt, imposing sanctions, issuing an arrest warrant for that parent, seizing tax refunds or other benefits of the delinquent party, and even suspending the driver’s license of the non-paying parent (although recent case law requires a hearing first).
Child Support With High Parental Incomes
If the combined net income of the parties exceeds a certain limit, the child support amount may exceed the normal child support guideline amounts. As explained on the website of “The Law Offices of Philip C. Puglisi, LLC” (under Family Law – Child Support), child support in New Jersey is calculated using a computer-based program known as the New Jersey Child Support Guidelines. However, if the combined net yearly income of the parents exceeds $187,200.00, the recommended child support number will “max out”. The Court will then use that number, and supplement it with an amount based on the income of both parents that exceeds the $187,200.00 net per year limit.
How the Court Determines the Child Support “Excess Amount”
The Court will consider the following factors to determine that excess amount:
- the child’s needs;
- the lifestyle and standard of living the children were accustomed to;
- the assets and income from both parties from all sources;
- the earning abilities of each party;
- the child’s capacity and need for education, including higher education;
- the child’s own assets and income, if applicable, and
- the debts of the parents and the children.