The amount of child support that is required to be paid in South Jersey is dependent on child custody, one of the first issues that must be considered in a divorce. Calculating child support also requires taking into account the need and amount for spousal support, as that can change the proportions of income in the family.
Child support is mainly based on the number of overnights each parent has with the child. According to New Jersey guidelines, a child support payment formula depends on the parenting plan that has been agreed upon or ordered by the court: Sole Parenting vs. Shared Parenting. With Shared Parenting, you should understand that the Court will consider your separate resources available for the child’s support, so the child support amount could be much less because you would be spending your own money on the child while in your custody. Naturally, if you are the sole custodial parent, you will likely receive more child support.
Consistent with the New Jersey Child Support Guidelines, we can calculate the amount of child support that ought to be paid; it is much more formulaic than is currently the case with alimony. There are, of course, many factors that need to be taken into account, including expenses for daycare, health insurance, whether governmental benefits are received for the child, and of course, each parent’s income. Extraordinary recurring expenses, such as extracurricular recreational activities may be addressed outside of the child support guidelines.
Once a child turns 18 or graduates from high school, whichever is later, New Jersey’s Child Support Guidelines no longer apply, even if support is still payable. However, the guidelines may be applied in a case where a child commutes to a post-secondary institution and continues to live at home. In the event that the child goes away for college or university, the Child Support Guidelines do not apply because many of the educational costs duplicate those covered under the Child Support Guidelines. However, New Jersey does order divorced parents to contribute to their children’s post-secondary education under most circumstances.
Although some states do not order parents to pay for their children’s college, New Jersey does. There is a very important case in New Jersey called Newburgh v. Arrigo in which all the important factors that are considered in determining college costs are outlined. If the parents and grandparents attended college, or if the child excels, or if the family was still intact, and all family members would have attended post-secondary school, contribution is specifically enforced. Obviously, there are more factors involved, which must all be analyzed in the event a parent does not believe that he or she should be paying for college. Other obligations may also be assigned to ensure that the parents maintain a home for their child when they return from school for vacations, summer, or other breaks. Sometimes college costs are considered during the divorce, but often when the child is not of age for college, it’s very difficult to craft a formula for the future.
We try to reach out to the other parent to craft an arrangement rather than go to court. College costs may be disputed, and it is often uncertain how the agreement will be arranged in a particular case, so each factor must be considered carefully.
On January 19, 2016, Governor Christie signed a new law clarifying the circumstances under which a child support obligation will terminate as a matter of law. The law provides that -unless a court order or judgment specifically provides otherwise – child support shall terminate on the date that a child under the age of 19 years of age marries, dies or enters the military service. Otherwise, the child support obligation shall terminate when the child reaches the age of 19. However, the law provides that a parent or child may petition the court for the continuation of child support beyond the age of 19 for cases in which the dependent child is still in high school, is attending full-time college, is attending vocational or graduate school, is disabled or under other exceptional circumstances. If the court grants an order for continuation of support, it would include in its order a future date upon which the child support obligations will terminate or a date upon which the court will review the circumstances of the parties and children.
Notwithstanding a parent or child’s ability to petition the court for continuing child support past the age of 19, the new statute provides that all such obligations will terminate as a matter of law when the child reaches the age of 23. In certain circumstances, however, the law permits a child beyond the age of 23 to petition the court for an order requiring the payment of other forms of financial maintenance to the extent such maintenance is not enforceable as child support. Finally, the law permits the court – upon application by a parent or child – to convert child support for a child who has reached the age of 23 to another form of financial maintenance where exceptional circumstances, such as mental or physical disability, so require.
The new law will be effective as of February 1, 2017 and will apply to all child support orders issued prior to, on or after the effective date. Until the enactment of this law, there was no presumption of termination of child support at a specific age. Rather, children had a right to child support until they were deemed emancipated, which may have occurred as a result of college completion, marriage, entry to military service, death, or a finding by the court that the child had “moved beyond the sphere of parental influence.”
Charny, Karpousis, Altieri & Donoian, P.A. is a highly-recognized team of lawyers exclusively practicing Family Law. If you need legal advice on a child support issue in South Jersey, please contact our Mount Laurel offices at (856) 505-1700 to schedule a confidential consultation today. You can be confident you will attain the highest level of quality advice specific to your case.
Our experienced South Jersey child support divorce attorneys provide legal advice and representation to clients throughout Southern New Jersey, including those in Mount Laurel, Maple Shade, Moorestown, Bordentown, Burlington Township, Cinnaminson, Delanco, Delran, Riverton, Eastampton, Westampton, Southampton, Hainesport, Lumberton, Medford, Medford Lakes, Shamong, Tabernacle, Evesham, Marlton, Cherry Hill, Voorhees, Haddonfield, Berlin, Blackwood, Gloucester Township, Oaklyn, Barrington, Magnolia, Haddon Heights, Haddon Township (Westmont), Laurel Springs, Lindenwold, Sicklerville, Somerdale, Runnemede, Glendora, Mount Ephraim, Stratford, Collingswood, Audubon, Gibbsboro, Bellmawr, Clementon, Merchantville, Pennsauken, Waterford, Deptford, Gibbstown, Glassboro, Harrison, Logan, Mantua, Mullica Hill, Pitman, Sewell, Turnersville, Washington Township, Wenonah, West Deptford, Westville, Williamstown, and Woodbury, and other municipalities in Burlington, Camden, Gloucester, Salem, Cumberland, Atlantic, Ocean and Mercer Counties.