If you are going through a divorce or separation, you may wonder how child support payments are calculated. Child support payments are determined by the New Jersey Child Support Guidelines, which are based on the income shares model. The Guidelines use a series of steps to calculate child support payments based on the parent’s incomes.
First, determine the gross income of both parents. Gross income includes wages, salaries, tips, commissions, bonuses, overtime, unemployment benefits, disability benefits, interest, dividends, rental income, alimony and any other sources of income. Some income is excluded, such as welfare benefits, Supplemental Security Income and income from a second household.
Next, deduct taxes and mandatory expenses from the gross income of both parents. These include federal income tax, state income tax, Social Security tax, Medicare tax, union dues, mandatory retirement contributions and any other required deductions. The result is the net income of each parent. Add the net income of both parents to get the combined net income.
New Jersey Child Support Schedule
Find the basic child support amount from the New Jersey Child Support Schedule. This is a table that shows how much child support is needed for different levels of combined net income and number of children. For example, if the combined net income is $10,000 per month and there are two children, the basic child support amount is $2,024 per month.
Adjust the basic child support amount for parenting time. If one parent has more than 28% of overnights with the children per year (or more than 104 overnights), then the basic child support amount is reduced by a percentage based on a formula that considers the number of overnights and the combined net income.
Add any additional expenses to the basic child support amount. These include childcare costs, health insurance premiums for the children, extraordinary medical expenses for the children (such as braces or glasses) and any other expenses that are agreed upon by the parents or ordered by the court. Subtract any credits or deductions from the basic child support amount. These include payments for other children from previous relationships, alimony payments to or from a former spouse and any other credits or deductions that are allowed by the court.
Divide the final child support amount between the parents according to their income shares. The parent who earns more pays more child support, and vice versa. For example, if the final child support amount is $2,500 per month and one parent earns 60% of the combined net income and the other parent earns 40%, then the first parent pays $1,500 per month and the second parent pays $1,000 per month.