Calculating Child Support Lawyers Union and Essex County New Jersey
Here are the major steps you need to know to estimate how much you will pay in child support.
One would think that determining child support’s calculation would be a basic process of crunching the family’s numbers of income and expenditures, split in half. Unfortunately, nothing could be further from the truth as there are many factors to consider, and income is only one of them.
New Jersey uses the income share model, meaning the court uses economic tables to estimate the children’s total monthly cost. The non-custodial parent pays a percentage of the calculated cost based on their proportional share of both parents’ combined income.
1 – Deciding the Fair Income of Both Parents – The law says that almost all kinds of income must be used to calculate child support; even things like overtime, lottery winnings, and unemployment benefits must be added in. Welfare benefits or other money was given to needy or disabled people are about the only money that does not count in figuring out child support.
If a Mom or Dad does not work but can, the law says the Court should figure out how much that Mom or Dad can earn and use that as their income for calculating child support.
2 – Deciding Taxes and Deductions – The Court must decide what the right amount of taxes are. You may have taxes taken out of your pay. You may also have deductions like a credit union loan or a savings or retirement plan that will be added back in because only the ones that have come out of your pay count.
3 – The Combined Net Income – After all the money is decided, the amount left to each parent after taxes and deductions (the net income) is added together. Just like a real family that shares their money, both parents’ income is put together into a family ‘pot’. Then, they look at the Guidelines chart for the number of children in a family and the amount of money in the family ‘pot’. The number on the chart is the basic child support award.
4 – Splitting the Basic Child Support Award – If both parents have the same net income, they split the amount from the chart equally: 50/50. Usually, though, one parent earns more than the other. If so, the law says that the parent with more money may pay a bigger share, like 60/40 or 70/30 (they get the exact share by dividing each parent’s income by the total in the ‘pot’). In a case where one parent is disabled or on welfare, the other parent may pay 100%!
5 – Visitation and Shared Parenting Adjustments – If the parents have a plan or order that shows the number of days they each spend with their kids, a special deduction is calculated for the parent who may pay support, based on that time. This can be a lot or a little, depending on the amount of visitation or parenting time and the parents’ amount of money.
6 – Add-Ons and Special Deductions – If a family has certain add-on expenses, like childcare or health insurance for the kids, those costs are added to the basic support amount and split the same way. Some special deductions, like other child support or alimony orders or certain government benefits, are subtracted.
7 – Poverty and Shared-Parenting Income Tests – The law says that the amount of child support paid or received should not leave a parent too poor. Special tests built-into the guidelines that can help prevent a parent from paying too much or receiving too little. However, the tests always favor the children by ensuring the parent who has the kids gets enough money to take care of them.
8 – Other Considerations – There are other considerations that the Court may consider, such as the duration of the marriage, the parties’ physical and emotional health, and the earning capacities, vocational skills, and educational levels of the parents. The time and expense necessary to acquire sufficient education, the length of the absence from the job market of the party seeking maintenance, and the likelihood that each party can maintain a comparable standard of living are also important factors.
Who Can Help Me Obtain a Fair Child Support Agreement?
The child support process certainly is a lot to digest. With so many guidelines, exceptions, and formulas, it is enough to make your head spin. Attorney Edward S. Cooper is ready to take your case and get you the best child support agreement for your family. Our unique approach to family law centers around creating family life plans out of family law problems.
By listening carefully to all your needs and concerns and keeping you highly informed and involved throughout the legal process, we believe we can work together to achieve the results you need in your unique legal situation.
To schedule a confidential case assessment with our firm today, please contact us at (908) 481-4625.