In New Jersey, child support is determined based upon the particular facts of the case, including the amount of each parent’s income and/or imputed income if the Court finds a parent underemployed or voluntarily unemployed. New Jersey Court Rule 5:6A addresses the establishment and modification of a child support order. Generally, the Court will set a child support order in accordance with the New Jersey Child Support Guidelines, a calculation taking into consideration various facts of the case.
The factors that are to be addressed when calculating child support are set forth in Appendix IX to the New Jersey Court Rules. These generally include, among many other factors, the gross income of each party, the number of children, the number of overnights each parent shares with the children, any alimony received or paid, prior child support orders, other dependents, mandatory retirement contributions, mandatory union dues, the added cost of health care premiums for the children, and work-related day care costs. For “good cause”, the Court may deviate from the Child Support Guidelines.
In cases where the Court may find that the Guidelines are not applicable, the Court will determine child support based upon the factors listed in N.J.S.A. 2A: 34-23(a), as follows:
- Needs of the child.
- Standard of living and economic circumstances of each parent.
- All sources of income and assets of each parent.
- Earning ability of each parent, including educational background, training, employment skills, work experience, custodial responsibility for children including the cost of providing care and the length of time and cost of each parent to obtain training or experience for appropriate employment.
- Need and capacity of the child for education, including higher education.
- Age and health of the child and each parent.
- Income, assets and earning ability of the child.
- Responsibility of the parents for court-ordered support of others.
- Reasonable debts and liabilities of each child and parent.
- Any other factors the court may deem relevant.
Once child support is determined, it is usually paid through an appropriate probation department via wage execution. It can be paid directly between the parties generally if both parties agree.