4 min read
How Much Child Support Can I Expect to Receive?
As if a divorce wasn’t already stressful and heartbreaking enough, divorcing while caring for kids is beyond difficult. Co-parenting can bring up a lot of questions, including a lot of uncertainty about the future and how you’ll provide for your children.
The first major question that most likely will pop into your mind is, “Who’ll get primary custody of the children?” But right behind that question is likely to be, “If I get primary custody, how much child support can I expect to receive?”
There’s no reason to feel bad about asking this question upfront. You need to be able to care for both yourself and your children after the divorce, and this is a very reasonable question. To help you understand the complexities of child support, we’re sharing some general information that will answer some of your questions—and hopefully quell some of your worries.
How Is Child Support Calculated in New Jersey?
For those interested in exactly what New Jersey’s child support laws say, you can review the more than 100 pages of complex court rules that go into making up the child support calculator. While every situation is unique, the New Jersey Department of Human Services has created an online calculator to help you estimate your anticipated child support payments.
However, you should remember that this is just a guideline. Your personal circumstances will ultimately be taken into account by a judge in determining the total amount to be paid.
Factors in Determining Child Support
Your attorney will help you with determining a fair child support request that you can take into the hearing. The judge in your case will have to approve this amount before it becomes official, so your attorney can advise you about a general range.
This means that the following information will be used in the calculation:
- The gross income of each parent (this is the total amount of earned income before taxes or expenses are deducted);
- The child custody agreement arrangement (generally, the percentage split of how much time each parent has with the child);
- The number of children involved in your specific child support agreement;
- The distribution of your marital assets;
- How old each child is;
- If the children have any special needs (such as physical or mental issues that may require more healthcare expenses or educational expenses);
- If either of the parents is already receiving child support or paying child support from a previous marriage;
- The marital status of each parent; and
- Health insurance and government benefits for the child/children.
How Are Additional Expenses Handled?
For the most part, an order for child support is used to make sure that the child’s standard of living is maintained from prior to the divorce.
Child support should pay for the child’s:
- Shelter (including rent/mortgage and utilities of the child’s home as a means of keeping the child safe);
- Medical expenses (such as copays for doctor’s visits, medicine, glasses, dental appointments, braces, and so on);
- Educational expenses (such as books, school supplies, school clothes, fees, and field trip expenses);
- Extracurricular expenses (such as club and sports fees, equipment, and summer activities, and camps); and
- Miscellaneous expenses (including furniture, food, clothing, and toys).
How New Jersey Courts Handle Unexpected Expenses
While New Jersey’s guidelines say that these are the general items child support should pay for, the courts also recognize that additional expenses may arise. For instance, one parent may be ordered to pay for the health insurance for the children as part of their insurance coverage.
Additionally, the parents may be ordered to split non-covered medical expenses. In other cases, work-related childcare may also be a factor for child support. Finally, the court may take into account travel expenses involved in taking the children to and from visitation.
An Experienced Family Law Attorney Can Help You With Your Unique Case
After all of these issues are taken into account, the judge will give final approval for the child support ruling. But as you can see, it’s not a simple process. By using the New Jersey child support calculator, you can get a general idea of what the support order will be. But even this is open for final approval and interpretation with extenuating circumstances. If you’re facing a divorce and you have children, now is a good time to set up a consultation with a family law attorney who can help you navigate this next phase of your family’s life.
Contact the Experienced Family Law Attorneys at Smedley Law Group in Woodbury, NJ Today
If you’re thinking about filing for divorce, you’ll also most likely be dealing with another matter like child custody, child support, or division of assets, so you’ll need to speak with a qualified attorney. The New Jersey family law attorneys at Smedley Law Group represent clients throughout the state, including West Deptford, Woodbury Heights, Runnemede, and Westville. We understand how challenging this time can be for you, which is why we will fight hard to protect your interests, and the interests of your loved ones, throughout the legal process. Call us at (856) 251-0800 or fill out our confidential contact form to schedule a consultation. We have an office conveniently located at 750 Cooper Street, Woodbury, NJ 08096.
The articles on this blog are for informative purposes only and are no substitute for legal advice or an attorney-client relationship. If you are seeking legal advice, please contact our law firm directly.