Often clients come in asking what child support is supposed to cover and not cover. The paying parent can sometimes feel that they pay and do not know where their money is going, while the receiving parents’ feels that the money they are receiving cannot possibly support a child on what they are receiving.
Sadly, both parties are legitimate in their concerns. In an ideal world, parents can send bills to each other for all child related expenses and have those bills be paid. Unfortunately we do not live in an ideal world and it is very rare that this type of arrangements work long term.
To tackle those questions, it is important to understand what the New Jersey Child Support Guidelines are and what was the purpose of them.
The New Jersey Child Support Guidelines were created to aid the New Jersey Courts in determining the amount of child support. These guidelines were created under the principle that parents spend a percentage of their combined income on raising their children. In addition to the parents’ income, factors such as health insurance credits, government benefits to and for children, and amount of overnights with non-custodial parent will influence the amount of child support ordered.
These guidelines are meant to cover the basic expenses incurred in raising the child. These expenses include fixed costs such as shelter and shelter-related costs, non-fixed costs such as food, clothing, entertainment and miscellaneous expenses. Other expenses such as child care expenses, extracurricular activities, private school education and camps may be additional costs and are no included in the child support calculation.
The amount that is paid is not supposed to cover the entire rent, food, etc. for the child, but instead the amount is to be used as a contribution to the custodial parent’s expenses for that child.
If you need information regarding your specific case, you can access it at: http://www.njchildsupport.org/.
If you have a smart-phone, you also have an option to download an app for NJ child support: