Representing New Jersey Clients In Child Support Matters

Child support is calculated pursuant to the New Jersey Child Support Guidelines. These complex Guidelines take certain amounts into account and the amount of time each parent spends with the child or children to arrive at the amount of child support. The amounts factored in, where applicable, include income of the parties, taxes, spousal support, work-related child care expenses, the cost of the child's health care and any child support obligations to other children. Generally, when the Guidelines are executed correctly, the amount of child support payment is calculated exactly.

There are several instances in which it will be necessary to carefully analyze the applicability of the Child Support Guidelines. A common example is where the parties' net combined income exceeds $187,200 per year. In high-income situations, the greatest Child Support Guidelines amount will be considered the base child support amount and a Court will consider increasing that amount by applying the following factors set forth under New Jersey law:

  • Needs of the child;
  • Standard of living and economic circumstances of each parent;
  • All sources of income and assets of each parent;
  • Earning ability of each parent, including educational background, training, employment skills, work experience, custodial responsibility for children including the cost of providing child care and the length of time and cost of each parent to obtain training or experience for appropriate employment;
  • Need and capacity of the child for education, including higher education;
  • Age and health of the child and each parent;
  • Income, assets and earning ability of the child;
  • Responsibility of the parents for the court-ordered support of others;
  • Reasonable debts and liabilities of each child and parent; and
  • Any other factors the court may deem relevant.

The Cohn Lifland family law group can assist you in determining what the likely child support figure is in your case. Our experienced attorneys can also help you tackle issues such as direct payments to the other party, payment through probation and wage garnishment.

When Does Child Support End?

Parents have an obligation to support their child until the child's emancipation, which is when the child moves out of the "sphere of influence" of the parents. The determination of whether a child is considered "emancipated" is extremely fact sensitive. As of February 1, 2017, the law provides for the termination of child support and/or medical support when a child reaches the age of 19. However, in cases where the child is in high school, attending full-time college, vocational or graduate school, or if a child is disabled, child support may continue until the child reaches the age of 23. If you think it may be time for child support to end in your case, contact the Cohn Lifland family law group. We will look at your specific case to help you determine if your child or children are emancipated.

Who Pays For College?

In general, if you have not agreed how college contributions will be handled, financially capable parents should contribute to the higher education of children who are qualified students. To reach a fair and just decision whether and, if so, in what amount, a parent or parents must contribute to a child's educational expenses, the statutory factors set forth under New Jersey law are carefully examined.

These factors are:

  • Needs of the child;
  • Standard of living and economic circumstances of each parent;
  • All sources of income and assets of each parent;
  • Earning ability of each parent, including educational background, training, employment skills, work experience, custodial responsibility for children including the cost of providing child care and the length of time and cost of each parent to obtain training or experience for appropriate employment;
  • Need and capacity of the child for education, including higher education;
  • Age and health of the child and each parent;
  • Income, assets and earning ability of the child;
  • Responsibility of the parents for the court-ordered support of others;
  • Reasonable debts and liabilities of each child and parent; and
  • Any other factors the court may deem relevant.

The court may also consider additional factors (known as the Newburgh factors), including:

  • Whether the parent, if still living with the child, would have contributed toward the costs of the requested higher education;
  • The effect of the background, values and goals of the parent on the reasonableness of the expectation of the child for higher education;
  • The amount of the contribution sought by the child for the cost of higher education;
  • The ability of the parent to pay that cost;
  • The relationship of the requested contribution to the kind of school or course of study sought by the child;
  • The financial resources of both parents;
  • The commitment to and aptitude of the child for the requested education;
  • The financial resources of the child, including assets owned individually or held in custodianship or trust;
  • The ability of the child to earn income during the school year or on vacation;
  • The availability of financial aid in the form of college grants and loans;
  • The child's relationship to the paying parent, including mutual affection and shared goals as well as responsiveness to parental advice and guidance; and
  • The relationship of the education requested to any prior training and to the overall long-range goals of the child.

Aside from these factors, the parties may agree in a divorce agreement to handle contribution to their child's or children's college education differently. The Cohn Lifland family law group can help you specifically provide for college contribution in your divorce agreement, enforce college contribution terms in an existing divorce agreement, or perform the necessary legal analysis if college contribution is being addressed for the first time.

Backed by over 90 years of institutional knowledge, experience and professionalism, our child support attorneys know the law — and they can help. Contact us online or call 201-273-7169 today to find out how. From our office in Saddle Brook, our lawyers help clients throughout northern New Jersey.