The amount of child support is affected by several factors. That will include the gross income of the parents and those gross incomes, then, are affected by the federal and state taxes. They are also reduced by whether one or both parents have union dues obligation or a pension obligation and that pension obligation has to be mandatory. It cannot be a voluntary obligation such as a 401K or something of that fashion.
It also depends upon the ages of the children and it depends by how many children are receiving child support. Once the New Jersey child support guidelines worksheet takes those numbers down, by formula, into an amount of child support, that is a gross child support, then that child support is then divided between the two parents by their income share.
To arrive at an income share we add the two net incomes of the parents, we then divide the net income of the payer by the total gross income, and that gives us the payer’s percentage of the gross child support amount, and then that amount comes due. However, that amount can then be adjusted.
There are factors that could have changed it, such as whether or not that parent then falls below the poverty guideline, then that could then reduce that amount of support. There also can be other factors such as travel, because if the parents had decided to live further apart and the one parent has the expense of travel to see that child, the court may then deviate from the guidelines because the court has discretion to do so. They can deviate from the guidelines and then reduce that child support so that parent has money to travel. These are very specific and they do change from time to time depending on the number of children and the incomes of the parties.
When child support terminates depends upon the ages of the children as well as what they’re doing. If a child is emancipated, let’s assume that child is 18 and graduates from high school but is not going to college, that child is going to be emancipated and no longer need child support.
But let’s assume that the child is special needs. Some children are not able to ever support themselves. In that case, child support would continue until the child is 23. However, at age 23, the Probation Department, if child support is paid through the Probation Department by wage execution, they will no longer collect in that fashion through the Probation Department because at that point it becomes financial maintenance. It is no longer child support.
There are also factors that can extend child support such as if the child goes on for college and then, in that event, the court would evaluate the claim for college, considering the child, whether or not they have their grades, the goals of the parents, the relationship of the parents, the course of study of the child, the loans, grants and scholarships available, and various other factors that may affect the length of emancipation of the child.
In New Jersey we don’t have a specific emancipation age. It depends on the child, whether or not they go on for higher education or whether or not that child has special needs, and these are the factors that we consider.
New Jersey attorney Cynthia Ann Brassington is certified by the Supreme Court of New Jersey as a Matrimonial Law Attorney, and regularly helps people to resolve their divorce-related issues, from property division, to child support, and custody. To learn more about Cynthia and her practice visit www.LinwoodFamilyLaw.com.