Can I get financial support for my children and myself?
Yes. But the court makes separate decisions when awarding support for you and your children, so it is possible that you may only be able to get support for your children, and not for yourself.
Support for your child: Generally, the court will determine how much money the other parent will pay to support your child. The court almost always uses set guidelines in a child support obligation worksheet to determine how much support you will receive.
If you would like to see all of the factors that go into determining support, you can visit the NJ Courts Website. The guidelines the court uses involve a very complex formula, but basically the court looks at both parents’ incomes, your child’s needs and how much time your child spends with each parent. To get a rough idea of how much support you may receive, the Department of Human Services has a “child support calculator,” which estimates the amount of support you may get.
Support for you: This is also referred to as alimony or maintenance. If you are getting separated or divorced, a court can award you temporary or permanent alimony. In deciding whether to award you alimony, a judge will look at any factors that s/he feels are important. A few of the things a judge will look at are:
- Your need for payment/ the other parent’s ability to pay;
- How long you were married;
- The age, physical and emotional health of you and the other parent;
- The standard of living you had in your marriage and how likely it is that you will be able to maintain a similar standard of living;
- How much both parents can earn for a living, and how much education you both have;
- The length of time you have been out of the job market. The time and expense needed for you to get an education or training to help you get a job;
- Each party’s financial and non-financial contributions to the marriage (including stopping your career to raise the children);
- The parents’ responsibilities for the children; and
- Income or property you are getting as a result of the divorce.1
1 see NJSA §2A:34-23(b)