How Child Support is Calculated in New Jersey
The amount of child support that is required to be paid in a New Jersey Family Law matter is dependent upon a number of factors including, but not limited to, the number of overnights each party has, each party’s annual gross income, any alimony being paid, the cost of the child(ren)’s medical and dental insurance, the cost of day care and any mandatory union dues or mandatory pension contribution. There are other factors that are considered as well and our attorneys will be happy to discuss this with you in detail. 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. Appendix IX-A and IX-B of the Child Support Guidelines are important and should be reviewed by any person with a child support issue in New Jersey.
How College Costs and Educational Needs are Calculated in New Jersey
Once a child is attending college, 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 and child support is still payable but is calculated in a different manner.
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. Contribution to college is a matter that should be handled by an experienced New Jersey Family Law Attorney.
New Child Support Law – Effective February 1, 2017
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 was 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.”