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Considerations for child support in New Jersey

Family law courts decide child support amounts based upon a range of factors that account for children's needs and what their parents can provide. Guidelines from the New Jersey Supreme Court outline the specific considerations that must be taken into account when awarding child support. Following the guidelines might lead to a simple resolution or a much more difficult process in cases with less common circumstances, such as when parents have children with multiple partners.

A Child Support Worksheet that takes into account parents' income levels and taxes is used in determining child support obligations, but there is some leeway and many factors to consider that could alter the amount. State law requires that children's needs and abilities are looked at as well as their age and health. This might include costs of child care and health care. Children's assets, any income and their ability to earn money are also considered. The costs of each child's education might be a large factor, which includes higher education.

Parents' ages and health also matter when determining child support obligations. Their financial standing and standard of living affect child support decisions. Courts look at both parents' financial resources and liabilities as well as their individual ability to support themselves and make money. Relevant information, such as job skills and experience, are considered. The financial obligations of parents to more children or other dependents as well as additional factors may also affect child support orders.

Child support guidelines offer assistance to courts in family law matters, but every case is unique. Child support payments might be only aspect to consider along with custody and visitation rights and possibly division of property. An attorney can answer questions about the process and explain more about the New Jersey Civil Practice Rules applicable to child support cases as well as argue in court for a fair payment structure based on clients' needs.

Source: Divorce Support, "New Jersey Child Support Factors", September 12, 2014

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