Child Support

When working with Breitowich Law, you can rest assured that your child’s best interests are a shared priority.

Every child support case is unique. Unlike alimony, however, child support payments are calculated pursuant to the New Jersey Child Support Guidelines. These guidelines take into consideration a number of different factors, the most important of which typically being: the number and age of the children, the income of each parent, the amount of annual overnights each parent spends with the children, and health care expenses.

There are some cases in which adjustments are made based on factors such as government benefits received or if applicable, any special recurring and predictable needs of the child. For those who pursue the option of mediation outside of a courtroom setting, you may agree to an amount outside of what is dictated by the guidelines.

There are exceptions to the above mentioned guidelines which do not apply in families with more than six children or for families with children that are over 18 and attending college away from home. Spouses may also deviate from these Guidelines for what is deemed “good cause,” although a rebuttable presumption exists that the child support amount determined in accordance with these Guidelines is the appropriate amount.

For parents with a combined net (after tax) income that exceeds the Guidelines threshold of $187,200, the law requires that child support be calculated accounting for the greater resources available within the family and also the greater expenditures that are typically made in higher income families.  For higher income families, the Guidelines formula is used to determine a base child support amount which is then further supplemented with an additional support amount based on factors including the remaining family income and the children’s needs. Certain other statutory factors are also taken into consideration, for instance, the children’s extracurricular expenses.

Under the Guidelines, the child support award covers the following:

  • Fixed costs, including shelter and shelter-related costs
  • Variable costs, including the cost of transportation and food for the child
  • Controlled costs, such as clothing, personal care, entertainment, and other miscellaneous expenses.   

The child support award also includes the following:

  • The first $250 of unreimbursed medical expenses per year, per child

Certain predictable, recurring expenses may also be added onto the child support award, such as:

  • Work-related child care
  • Health insurance (the marginal cost of adding a child to a health insurance plan)
  • Predictable, recurring, unreimbursed health care expenses (in excess of the first $250 per child, per year)

Other expenses may be added in as well, such as costs related to special needs and visitation transportation expenses. 

There is a bit of debate surrounding this question. Generally speaking, costs that are either unpredictable and/or non-recurring are not covered by or added into the child support obligation. These costs may include tuition fees for private education, costs associated with certain extracurricular activities, and expenses of special celebrations, such as a bar/bat mitzvah or a “Sweet Sixteen” party. College tuition and related expenses are also not added into the child support obligation but, rather, are addressed separately.

Yes, child support can be modified with a change of circumstances such as the loss of employment, change in job, and/or other significant changes that may impact one’s income or financial situation . It is also often reviewed every few years to provide for a COLA or cost of living adjustment.

No. Although 18 is the age at which an individual can legally vote and begins paying taxes, it is not the definitive cut-off for child support. Effective February 1, 2017, the statutory age of termination of child support benefits in New Jersey is 19. There are, however, other circumstances aside from age that may result in the termination of child support including the child marrying, entering military service, or if this termination is otherwise ordered by the court.

Inversely, there are also circumstances in which these benefits can extend past the age of 19 including if the child is a full-time student, has a disability, or if it is otherwise ordered by the court.

Generally speaking, there are many methods through which child support can be enforced. The payee spouse can make an application to the Court. In addition, child support can also be enforced by the Court itself, if the support obligation is paid through an administrative division of the Court called the Probation Department. Under such circumstances, because the payments are made through the Court itself, the Court has the ability to monitor payments and implement enforcement measures even without intervention by the payee spouse. These enforcement measures include holding enforcement hearings in Court, suspension of professional and driver’s licenses until the payor meets his or her obligation, and, on the more extreme end- incarceration.

Child Support with Sylvia

As a parent, the well-being of your children is your cardinal focus. Breitowich Law Firm understands the immense gravitas of this and we want to be here for you to help advocate in their best interest. It is our shared goal with you that, regardless of the relationship or marital status between yourself and your children’s other parent, a fair agreement that aligns in suit with the needs of your children is met and upheld.