Child support is a parent’s court-ordered payment to help with the costs of raising a child. In New Jersey, child support obligations normally last until the child turns 18 years old, but can continue up past that age if the child is still in high school or has certain physical or mental conditions that require extra support.
How to Request Child Support in New Jersey
There are several ways a parent can receive child support in New Jersey. One way is for both parents to agree and ask a judge to approve a support order in a civil case such as a divorce or other family law proceeding. However, the majority of cases start by completing an application for child support and submitting it to the local Child Support Agency (CSA).
The CSA can help a parent locate the noncustodial parent; establish paternity for children born outside of marriage; establish support obligations, collection and distribution of support; and enforcement of support obligations through the Probation Division.
Calculation of Support
Support is based upon the reasonable needs of the child and upon the reasonable ability of the parent to pay. The court determines child support amounts using a set of support guidelines created by the New Jersey legislature. A judge will calculate the child support formula using a somewhat complicated formula. The most significant factors are each parent's income, daycare expenses, the cost of medical insurance, any social security benefits the child may be receiving, and the living arrangements of the children. A judge will automatically review the support amount every three years.
|Code Section||New Jersey Child Support Guidelines|
|Who is Responsible?||Both parents|
|How Support is Calculated?||New Jersey Child Support Guidelines|
The support amount is based on the income of both parents and the average amount that intact families spend on their children.
|What is Included in a Support Order?||Monetary support (food, clothing, & shelter), health insurance, basic education expenses. Also might include child care expenses, extraordinary medical expenses, visitation travel costs, and extracurricular activities.|
|How Long Must a Parent Pay Child Support?||Until the child reaches the age of 17 or until the child graduates high school. Support may continue past 18 if the child has certain physical or emotional challenges.|
|Local Child Support Offices||
New Jersey Department of Human Services
|Child Support Forms||Forms|
|Can a Support Order be Changed?||Yes. Either party can ask to schedule a modification conference if circumstances have changed. The term "changed circumstances” means a permanent, substantial (major), and unanticipated life change.|
Because New Jersey child support laws can sometimes get complicated, it may also be a good idea to consult an experienced New Jersey child support attorney if you have questions about your specific situation.
Contact a qualified attorney.