Child support is a complicated mess for a variety of different reasons, both ranging between emotional issues and financial ones. That being said, there are mechanics in place to help simplify the process as much as it possibly can be, one such approach being how the child support is calculated. Different states handle child support in different ways, and New Jersey is no exception to that. In order to help make the process just a little easier, we will examine how child support is calculated in New Jersey.
How is child support calculated in New Jersey?
There are a fair few factors that go into determining how much a person may pay child support. One of the most important of these factors is the age and quantity of the children. This certainly makes sense; after all, child support exists in order to make sure that the children involved in the divorce are taken care of adequately, so the amount is obviously going to rise with the number of children. As children age increases, so too do their needs. They will have more food to eat, more expenses for clothing, and will want to have more money to spend for themselves so that they may entertain themselves. Also, child support is going to take into account the incomes of the parents involved. Whoever receives the children is obviously not going to be the person to pay child support, and ultimately, the determination of who gets the children will be based on certain factors, such as who is most suited to take care of the children. Someone who makes more money is almost always going to be the one to handle the child support, mainly because they are the ones who are most able to afford to spend extra money on their children.
Important to note, however, is that New Jersey has a specific way of happening the support that a couple is expected to give to their children. Both parents are obligated to provide financial support in New Jersey. In order to keep this consistent in the case of a divorced couple, New Jersey calculates child support similarly. In order to determine the incomes of you and your former partner, the court will look at multiple things. First off, they will take a look at your gross income, which is a type of income that encompasses both earned and unearned income that is either recurring or will have a longer-term impact on a person’s income over a period of time. Examples of gross income include compensation through employment, tips, bonuses, property sales earnings, gambling winnings, alimony you have received, income from Social Security and/or the Veteran’s Administration, among others. Of course, your gross income is not necessarily going to be what you ultimately can expect to take home as profit.
After the gross income of both parties has been determined, the next thing to determine is the net income. Basically, this refers to whatever money you have leftover after you deal with certain expenditures. Not all payments are going to apply, however. For example, one cannot exclude money that is put into housing, mainly because it is easily exploitable in order to get a house that is needlessly expensive in order to justify paying less into child support than they would normally be able to. Examples of things that you can have subtracted as part of your net income include payments into taxes, unions, alimony, and child support. There are other expenses that may be usable in the process, such as transportation costs, health care costs, child care due to work, etc. The process of figuring out both the gross income and the net income may be difficult at best and frustrating at worst for many. Worse off, mistakes could potentially be made that lead you to pay more into child support than you actually should. In order to have this done smoothly and correctly, your best approach is to get in contact with a lawyer who specializes in this area. With one on your side, navigating New Jersey’s child support guidelines will become all the easier. They can also advocate for you better in the process than you can on your own, using their experience and expertise to help get you through the other side of the matter without too many bumps and bruises from it all.
How can child support payments be lowered?
There are measures that can be taken in order to reduce the amount of money a person may have to pay into child support. One such measure is for that parent to make an effort to spend time with their child or children by having them spend time with them at their home. This is due to that parent not only providing them emotional support, but also the financial support of providing housing, heating, clothing, food, entertainment, etc. that the other parent is not required to provide due to you having possession of the children at the time. Of course, you should spend time with them for more reasons than just reducing your child support. Time and affection to your children is a very rewarding thing to give them and to receive in turn. There are different aspects of the child support guideline that may be used, depending on how much time the children spend at the house of the parent paying child support, If the time spent is anywhere between 28 and 50 percent, the judge may use the shared parenting calculation instead of a calculation based on the idea that the children are being raised solely by only one parent. This is not meant to get out of obligations to support the child; rather, the purpose is to put your money to specific things, and have the choice of what to put that towards. If you want to make sure that your money goes to the right things, taking care of the child is an important step in pulling that off.
That being said, one approach that can be taken, an approach that does not even involve New Jersey’s child support calculations, is to simply come to an agreement on how the two parents are going to support their child. This can be a valuable approach if you are hoping to avoid dealing with a court battle, or even a court skirmish, but you should make sure that you get it all in writing, and to have multiple copies in the possession of you, your former partner, and the respective lawyers representing you both.