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The New Jersey Department of Human Services outlines the factors that parents and courts must consider in determining child support.

We have helped parents understand their rights and responsibilities with respect to providing financially for their children after divorce.

Know which sources of income count

For purposes of computing child support, earnings attributable to parents include most income sources, including wages, overtime, unemployment benefits and even lottery earnings. The court may also include the earning potential of a parent who is able to work but does not. In general, exclusions from income may extend only to items like welfare benefits or other entitlements. The court may reduce the amount attributed to your income by taxes and other pay deductions mandated by law.

Taking these calculations into account, the court will aggregate both parents’ net income and apply state guidelines for support based on combined income and the number of children in the family.

Know how parents share support obligations

Parents may generally share child support on the basis of their relative income. For example, if both parents earn approximately the same income, they may share the cost of support equally. If one parent has a disability or receives government assistance, the other parent may be responsible for as much as 100% of the costs of caring for the children. The court may adjust the amount of support based on the parenting and visitation arrangement in place, as parents likely spend more money when the children are living with them. The court may also take into account whether the child support obligation may leave a parent without enough money to cover his or her living expenses.

You may find it necessary to modify a child support order if you or your co-parent experiences a change in financial circumstances. Our website explains when you might find a change in support warranted.