We all want to make sure that our children are provided for and that their expenses are covered. To this end, we have been provided with certain guidelines to assist us in calculating how much the basic child support should be. However, understanding these guidelines and ensuring they are calculated correctly can be quite difficult. In order to ensure your child support is calculated correctly it is important to have an experienced child support attorney.
Child Support in NJ
In most situations, child support in New Jersey can be calculated with a fair degree of certainty. The State of New Jersey has directed the use of Child Support Guidelines to determine the amount of child support for families with a combined weekly income up to $3,600 a week. Once we have determined what each parents income is, and established the parenting schedule, a Guidelines worksheet can be completed to determine the appropriate level of support. In situations where the combined household income is more than $3,600, or where there are children who are attending college, the calculation becomes more complex and the New Jersey child support laws require a specific analysis of the child’s added expenses.
Just because the State of New Jersey has provided us with Guidelines to use in most cases, this should not be interpreted to mean that calculating child support is a simple matter. Changing even one number in the calculation could have a dramatic effect on the outcome. Depending on what parenting schedule is established can also dramatically affect how child support is calculated. It is therefore recommended that you have an attorney that is experienced in performing child support calculations assisting you.
Modification of Order in NJ
As with any other parenting issue, child support can be reviewed in the future if circumstances change. Maybe you or the other parent changed jobs for better or worse. Maybe you’ve agreed to change your parenting schedule. When you originally calculated the child support, did you include medical expenses or day care expenses that no longer exist, or have dramatically changed? All of these would be reasons to seek a review of your child support. The hard part is determining when there is a sufficient change to warrant a review.
There are no clear set rules to determine when a review is triggered. Instead, the court will look at how significant the change is, whether the change is something the parents can control, and for how long it has been ongoing. Since there are no clear set rules, it is important to have an attorney experienced in child support litigation in New Jersey to guide you through the process.
Because calculating child support can become a complex issue, Ms. Friedland and Mr Shauger will review all of the various factors that could affect how child support is calculated in order to attempt to get you the best outcome. She will also take the time to explain to you how child support is calculated in New Jersey and to make sure you understand exactly how any final amounts were calculated in your case.
Alternatives in NJ
Child support can be a difficult issue to discuss. For the person who is paying child support, they need to balance their desire to provide for their children against their need to cover their own expenses. For the person who is receiving child support, the amount they are getting will almost always seem to be too little to cover the expenses of raising a child in New Jersey. This fear is only exacerbated when the ability to decide on the amount is taken out of their hands and placed in that of the Judge.
Rather than resign your and your child’s financial future to someone else, you should consider the alternatives to child support litigation. You always have the option to submit this issue to mediation or to participate in a collaborative divorce proceeding. Ms. Friedland is a trained Mediator and is trained in Collaborative Law in New Jersey.