The needs of every family are unique. This is why judges often have discretion when it comes to the determination of child support. Calculating the amount to be paid is not always as easy as applying the guidelines set forth in New Jersey law.

In the ordinary course of events, child support is based on two major factors — the gross income of each parent and parenting time. Gross income can include more than just hourly wages or salary. Parenting time often refers to the number of overnights each parent has with the children. Once an amount is calculated, an order will be entered outlining which parent is to pay and how much that obligation will be each month.

You might be under the impression that this is how child support will be established regardless of any additional factors. That is not always the end of the story, however. If your child has medical or educational needs that are not the same as the average child, those expenses can be calculated into the support amount. In some cases, other extenuating circumstances warrant a deviation from the guidelines.

Therefore, whether you are looking to receive or pay child support, it would be in your best interest to have a New Jersey family law attorney represent you. He or she will review your circumstances and then plead your case before the court. Ultimately, the court is most interested in what will be best for the children, and that might mean using its discretion to account for your family’s unique circumstances.