Calculating Child Support for High and Low Income Families in New Jersey
By Peter Van Aulen, Esq.CALCULATING CHILD SUPPORT IN NJ FOR HIGH INCOME FAMILIES
In New Jersey, when parent’s combined net yearly income exceeds $187,200.00 the Court will apply the child support guidelines up to said amount and supplement the guideline-based award with a discretionary amount considering the parents income that exceeds $187,200.00 per year and the factors listed in N.J.S.A. 2A:34-23. The factors listed in N.J.S.A. 2A:34-23 are as follows:
- The child’s needs.
- Each parent’s standard of living and economic situation.
- Each parent’s assets and income from all sources.
- Each parent’s earning ability based on their background, education, job training, work experience, professional skills, child- rearing responsibilities, including the expense of child care and the period of time and cost for each parent to acquire training or experience to obtain a suitable job.
- The child’s capacity and need for education, including higher education.
- The child’s and each parent’s health and age.
- The child’s assets, income and earning capability.
- The parent’s responsibility for support obligations for others that are Court ordered.
- Parents and child’s reasonable liabilities and debts.
- Other factors that the Court would find appropriate.
It is important to note that the maximum award under the child support guidelines corresponds to the minimum award for families with incomes that exceed $187,200.00. Therefore, a child support award for a family with a net income exceeding $187,200.00 will not be less than an award amount for a family with a net income of $187,200.00. Depending on the case, some factors will be more relevant than others.CALCULATING CHILD SUPPORT IN NJ FOR PARENTS WITH INCOME LESS THAN U.S. POVERTY GUIDELINES
According to the appendix to the child support guidelines, if an obligor parent’s net income, after deducting their child support obligation, is less than 105% of the U.S. poverty guidelines for one person (net income of $232.00 per week) the Court will then review that parent’s living expenses and income to determine the maximum amount of child support that can be demanded to be paid without denying said parent the ability to economically sustain themselves. Also, the Court has the ability to impute income to a parent if they are without cause, voluntarily unemployed or underemployed. The Court will review the parent’s education, job skills, salary history, and background. Then the Court may impute income based on their former earned income or the average income for their profession taken from the New Jersey Department of Labor.CONCLUSION
Establishing the correct amount of child support is important to the future of both parents and the child. If it is set too low, the child and the custodial parent will suffer. If it is set too high, the obligor parent will not be able to pay and arrears could accrue. This could lead to an obligor’s arrest, refusal to issue or renew a passport, suspension of driver and professional licenses, lien on real estate, report to credit agencies, seizure of tax refunds, garnishment of wages and lottery winnings. It is important that both the parent receiving and the parent paying child support get the right legal advice. Peter Van Aulen has been handling child support cases for over 22 years. He will take the time to listen to your circumstance and provide the advice you need. Call him today at (201) 845-7400 for a free initial consultation.