How will the judge calculate child support?
If I have joint custody, is either parent responsible for child support?
How long will child support last?
What can I do if the other parent is not paying the ordered child support?
How much child support is ordered will depend on both parents’ income and the needs of the child.1 To decide how much child support to order, the judge will follow the New Jersey child support guidelines, which account for:
- basic expenses: housing, food, clothing, transportation, entertainment, health, and similar expenses; and
- additional expenses: child care, health insurance, and other expenses approved by the judge.2
However, there are circumstances that could make the judge stray from the guidelines or adjust the result provided by those guidelines.3 The judge, for example, may consider:
- other dependents of either party;
- other support obligations;
- government benefits paid to or for the children;4 and
- shared parenting obligations.5
The New Jersey Department of Human Services offers a child support calculator, which you can find here.
1 N.J. Rules of Practice App. 9-A
2 N.J. Rules of Practice App. 9-A(8)
3 N.J. Rules of Practice App. 9-A(3)
4 N.J. Rules of Practice App. 9-A(10)
5 N.J. Rules of Practice App. 9-A(4)
The New Jersey child support guidelines use a different formula when there’s a shared parenting plan as opposed to when one parent has sole custody. It makes a distinction between the:
- parent of primary residence, with whom the child spends more than 50% of his/her time each year; and
- the other parent, known as the parent of alternate residence.
The guidelines then consider the income and expenses of both parents and the expenses of the parent of alternate residence when s/he is in charge of the child. After calculations and adjustments, either parent could be ordered to pay child support based on the needs of the child and the higher income of one of the parents.1
1 N.J. Rules of Practice App. 9-A(14)
The obligation to pay child support ends when the child:
- turns 19 years of age, unless the custodial parent requests, and the judge grants, an extension based on:
- the severe mental or physical incapacity of the child; or
- the fact that the child is studying full-time in high school or a post-secondary education program. In this case, support will end on or before the child’s 23rd birthday;
- enters the military service; or
- is under the custody of the state.1
1 N.J. Stat. § 2A:17-56.67
New Jersey’s child support enforcement program could help enforce the order without you having to go to court. You can read more about how the different government agencies work together to enforce child support orders on the New Jersey state government website.
The other option you have is to file in court, hopefully with the help of an attorney, to help you enforce your child support order. A judge could enforce the child support order by doing any of the following to the non-paying parent:
- current or future income;
- unemployment benefits;
- money owed to him/her; or
- trust funds;
- denying, suspending, or revoking driving, professional, occupational, recreational or sporting licenses; and
- ordering the arrest of the parent who is not following with order.1
1 N.J. Stat. § 2A:17-56.8