The child support guidelines are a result of research that was intended to determine the average cost to raise a child in an average economic family or an average economic circumstance. When we look at these child support guidelines, we rely upon them to determine the correct amount of child support to be paid by each parent for the benefit of the child. Those guidelines include a percentage for housing, utilities, transportation, food, clothing, uncovered medical expenses of up to $250 per year per child, makeup, hair products, toiletries, extracurricular activities with third exceptions, shoes, outerwear – everything you can think of for your child is typically incorporated into the child support guideline.
There are some exceptions, such as footwear for sports, that are not considered in the child support guidelines. For example, if you’re buying cleats; that’s not in the guidelines, but the registration for baseball will be. The reason we try to use child support guidelines in most cases is because the guidelines take into account the majority of the middle class families in the state. There are exceptions, if you have a special needs child, for instance, who have tremendous medical expenses that are not anticipated by the guidelines.
If you’re each earning a $100,000 a year, you would be subject under the rule to the child support guideline, in which case we would put in each of your incomes, we would take out your deductions, and the calculator would give us a child support amount. However, if you’re each earning a $100,000 a year, but you have a special needs child who has a tremendous amount of educational expense, then it might not be appropriate to use the child support guideline. Or it might be appropriate to use the child support guideline, and then add to that basic child support number to encompass all the additional expenses which can be recurring and anticipated. But generally speaking, there is a child support guideline in the State of New Jersey that will be utilized to determine what the weekly child support amount is going to be from the non-custodial parent to the custodial parent.
Abigale M. Stolfe is a partner at Stolfe Zeigler, a boutique family law firm that obtains favorable outcomes for high-net-worth, complex, and litigious cases.