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Although the New Jersey child support laws consider both parents to be financially responsible for the well-being of their minor children, divorced noncustodial parents are always expected to pay child support each month to the custodial parent, and they even have websites that help you get started.
The state works with the parents to make sure everything is understood and that an appropriate amount of money is designated for the child’s care, and all of the details regarding child support can be found by visiting https://www.divorcenet.com/resources/divorce/divorce-and-children/child-support-new-jersey.htm.
New Jersey Child Support Laws – The “Income Shares Model”
Like many states, New Jersey uses the “Income Shares Model” when determining child support amounts. This means they consider what the family income would be if the parents were still together and then divide that amount in half so that the child still reaps the financial benefits of this dollar amount. The state believes that the child shouldn’t suffer just because his or her parents are no longer together, and this belief is reflected in the amount the child receives through child support payments.
The method the state uses to come up with the right child support amount is a bit complicated, but it isn’t difficult to learn the basics. The state uses worksheets to come up with this amount, depending on the type of custody arrangement you have. These two worksheets include the:
- Sole Parenting Worksheet (Appendix IX C)
- Shared Parenting Worksheet (Appendix IX D)
With the worksheets, you can actually go online and get an estimate of the amount of child support you are expected to pay or receive, but keep in mind that many things go into how these amounts are calculated. There is a gross and net income, various deductions, and many special circumstances that apply, all of which can affect the final amount that is determined in the end.
NJ Child Support Laws – What Affects Your Child Support Amount?
One of the things that the state of New Jersey takes into consideration when determining a fair child support amount is how much time the child spends with the noncustodial parent. If you have your child less than two overnight visits per week, that is, your parent of alternate residence (PAR) time is less than two overnight visits per week, you are a noncustodial parent and should follow the guidelines set forth in the sole parenting worksheet directions.
If you are a noncustodial parent and you have your children for extended periods of time during certain holidays or other special occasions, you can request to pay a reduced amount of child support during that time frame. This is especially true when there are more than five overnight visits during a one-week period.
NJ State Child Support – Shared Parenting Arrangements
Some couples have shared custody of their children, and in this case the state still designates one of the parents as the noncustodial parent. The parents are known as the PAR parent described above, and the PPR – parent of primary residence – parent. If the number of overnight visits is the same with both parents, the state considers the PPR to be the one the child lives with while attending school.
However, in some instances the parent utilizing a shared custody situation might find it more beneficial to use the sole parenting worksheet. Examples of this include custodial parents, or PPRs, who have an especially low income when all of their net income is considered. Comparing both the sole parenting worksheet and the shared parenting worksheet is easy because both documents can be found online, making it simple to test both of them out and see which dollar amount is best for your situation.
Devising the Right Child Support Amounts
Child support amounts always start out with your net income and include your basic wage plus tips, commissions, bonuses, and so on. Expenses are then taken out of this amount, and expenses can include everything from income tax to Social Security and even tuition for private school, transportation costs for visitations, and extraordinary expenses for disabled or special needs children. Daycare, health insurance costs, and other expenses are also considered.
In other words, the state is not unreasonable in its expectations for noncustodial parents to financially support their minor children. They try to make sure the amount designated is fair to both the child and the parents, but above everything else, they always put the needs of the child first. The worksheets they provide are a great starting point, but you do have options if you consider the amount to be unrealistic.
If a noncustodial parent tries to quit a job or work fewer hours to get out of paying child support, the state will step in to make sure the child gets everything he or she deserves. Much like other states, New Jersey helps its custodial parents receive the money they deserve by imputing an income on the noncustodial parent; in other words, the noncustodial parent is always expected to pay a certain percentage of his or her income toward child support, even if the dollar amount of the “income” is assigned by the state.
In addition, if you get to a point where you wish to alter the amount you’re paying or receiving in child support for one reason or another, you can go to the state and request that this be done. This also applies to the termination of the child support payments, but of course, this isn’t possible until the child reaches the age of 18. This doesn’t mean your alteration or modification request will be granted, but you do have the right to request it.
Like all other states, the state of New Jersey takes seriously its responsibility to make sure the financial needs of its minor children are met. They offer more detailed information online, where you can get a lot of your questions answered so that you can feel more confident about moving on to the next step. Many of these websites are even interactive, which means you can chat with someone live at any time, which can be especially useful when you’re in a bind or you need quick answers to some of the more important questions you might have.