Child Support






            Children are entitled to child support.  It is their legal right.


           New Jersey uses child support guidelines which are mainly, but not exclusively, based on both parents’ income and the number of overnights each parent has with the child.


            The Child Support guidelines are not applicable in extremely low or extremely high income families.  If the combined net income exceeds $187,200.00, the Court will consider statutory factors, and other factors such as the needs of the child, the standard of living and economic circumstances of each parent, all sources of income and assets of each parent, the earning capacity of each parent, capacity of the child for higher education, responsibility of the parent for Court ordered support of others, debts and liabilities of each child and parent.


            If there is an action for modification of child support, the Court will look at more than changed economic circumstances.  The priority is the best interest of the child.


            Parents must give their children financial support.  If a parent has not worked, the Court may impute income to that parent. 


            Emancipation does not automatically occur if a child has reached eighteen years of age.  If the child is financially dependent upon the parent, a Court will order continuation of child support.  If the child shows the desire and capacity for college and if the parent went to college, it is reasonable to expect that the


parents will contribute to college and will agree to do so.  The guidelines are not used for college.


            In a divorce context, most people will enter into a Property Settlement Agreement rather than a trial; the Agreement will address child support.  The Agreement will be used as a basis for the future.  It should be fair toward your children.


            At all times, both parents should strive to provide for the best interest of their children.  This may seem unnecessary to say, but the anger sometimes generated by the divorce leads the parents to give the other spouse as little as possible even if it impacts the children.  If people are not candid about their income or deliberately minimize their earnings, the children will suffer from these actions.  Further, this will be costly in terms of legal fees, the emotional toll and disadvantage to the children.


            A constructive attitude and clear thinking should be your guide to appropriate support for your children.  Children can survive divorce very well if the parents keep their best interest in mind as their top priority.


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