NJ Family Law and Child Support Attorneys
In New Jersey, child support is calculated based upon an exhaustive list of guidelines established under the New Jersey Rules of Court. Totaling over 100 pages, the Child Support Guidelines examine everything from the parents’ sources of income to any special needs of the child. The guidelines are exceedingly complex, and frankly, for most parents, trying to make sense of them can seem like an exercise in futility.
However, if you or your child’s other parent is seeking child support, it is important to develop realistic expectations as to what you can expect to receive (or pay) under the guidelines. At Romanowski Law Offices, we work alongside our clients with accountants, tax planners, and financial consultants as necessary in order to apply the guidelines and establish fair child support awards. We have extensive experience helping our clients both maximize their child custody rights and minimize their child custody obligations.
Seeking Child Support in a Divorce
In a divorce, child support is an important part of the overall financial allocation between the parties. Rather than being examined in a vacuum, child support should be considered along with the parties’ discussions (or arguments, in the case of a contested divorce) regarding custody rights, alimony, and equitable distribution of their marital property. Not only do these issues play into the Child Support Guidelines, but they are also critical to assessing the reasonableness and practicality of any proposed child support awards. Even working within the guidelines, parents’ child support duties can vary widely depending on the other factors involved in their divorce.
Calculating New Jersey Child Support
New Jersey Child Support QuickCalc
The New Jersey Department of Human Services (NJDHS) provides a basic child support calculator on its website. The information you will need in order to use the QuickCalc child support calculator includes:
- Number of children for which child support is sought
- Whether you have shared or sole custody
- Each parent’s percentage of parenting time
- Each parent’s weekly gross taxable income
- Each parent’s pre-existing child support obligations (if any)
- Each parent’s tax filing status (single, married, or head of household)
As noted on NJDHS’s website, child support amounts calculated using QuickCalc are for informational purposes only. Your actual child support award will be based on numerous additional factors contained in the Child Support Guidelines, and it is ultimately up to the New Jersey courts to establish final child support orders. In some cases, unique facts may justify a deviation from strict application of the guidelines.
Factors Considered in Calculating Child Support
Underlying the New Jersey Child Support Guidelines are three basic premises:
- Both parents owe a continuous duty to support their children.
- Children are entitled to share in the current income of both of their parents.
- Children should not suffer as a result of a divorce being born out of wedlock.
With these guiding principles in mind, the guidelines seek to fairly allocate the costs of raising children between both parents. Of course, deciding what is “fair” can be subject to differing opinions and interpretations. While this is actually the precise reason that the guidelines are in place, they still leave significant room for dispute as to the final numbers.
Along with the information listed above, other factors that come into play in calculating child support include:
- The current age of your children
- Child care costs
- Health care costs
- Insurance premiums
- Educational expenses
- The child’s current standard of living
In child support disputes, we often see disputes regarding calculation of income and necessary expenses, and many times support issues go hand-in-hand with determining the parents’ rights to legal and residential custody. At Romanowski Law Offices, we take a holistic approach to establishing child support and typically recommend using alternative dispute resolution (ADR) methods in order to prevent child-related issues from escalating into full-blown adversarial litigation between the parents.
Speak with a Child Support Attorney at Romanowski Law Offices
If you have children and are considering filing for divorce or ending a domestic partnership or civil union, the attorneys at Romanowski Law Offices can help you obtain a fair child support award. We have decades of experience, and attorney Curtis Romanowski has literally written the book on child-related family law issues in New Jersey.
With offices located in Freehold and Central Jersey, we serve clients throughout the Garden State. To schedule your expert, no-obligation consultation, call (732) 603-8585 or contact us online today.