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How is child support calculated in New Jersey?

When New Jersey parents separate, the obligation of each parent to financially support the children does not end. The court will likely order one parent to make monthly payments on behalf of the children in order to fulfill this obligation. Child support will be calculated based on a number of factors set forth by the state legislature.

The amount of support is primarily based on a parent's reasonable ability to pay and the needs of the child. However, reaching that amount is not always easy. Some of the most common factors are the income of each parent, medical insurance costs and day care expenses. The court will also look at a child's living arrangement and Social Security benefits, if applicable.

That is not always the end of the story, however. If a child has ongoing medical needs or participates in extracurricular activities, the amount of child support ordered could include a portion or all of those expenses. depending on the circumstances. Payments ordinarily continue until the child graduates from high school, but they can continue after the age of 18 if needed due to emotional or physical challenges.

Judges are obligated to follow New Jersey's child support guidelines, but extenuating circumstances can be taken into consideration. This includes the need for a modification if either parent experiences any significant and permanent change in his or her financial circumstances. Even though many cases will be decided in accordance with the guidelines, this does not mean that the parents cannot come to their own agreement regarding child support. If the court finds it to be reasonable, the agreement could be approved.

Source: FindLaw, "New Jersey Child Support Guidelines", Accessed on Aug. 26, 2016

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