top of page

Child Support

Child Support Lawyer in New Jersey

In New Jersey, Court Ordered child support is intended to provide financial support for minor children born of the parties’ marriage or relationship. 


Child support obligations can be an issue in divorce, but they can also come up in non-dissolution cases – such as paternity suits and child custody matters. 


How Does Child Support Get Calculated?


The amount of child support you can expect to pay generally depends on the New Jersey Child Support Guidelines. The Guidelines typically apply in all cases where both parents’ net incomes collectively total less than $187,200. If combined parental incomes total more than $187,200 net, the Court can supplement its child support orders with discretionary payments beyond the Guidelines-based amount. In other words, the parent receiving child support in these matters may receive supplemental child support payments beyond what the Guidelines would encompass.


Calculating child support pursuant to the Guidelines depends on using a complex, multi-factored formula. How much child support you can expect to pay depends on the amount of time each parent spends with the children – in other words, the number of overnights each parent has with the children. 


The New Jersey law on child support also factors in the children’s ages as well as each parent’s income and expenses incurred for the children. For instance, the Guidelines will often factor in the cost of the children’s health insurance premiums or any work-related childcare costs, such as daycare.


Unreimbursed Medical Costs and Extraordinary Expenses for the Children


If the custodial parent is incurring certain expenses for the children outside of what the Guidelines are intended to cover, the Court may order the parties to proportionately share in those costs. These extraordinary expenses may also be included in a Guidelines award of child support if they are predictable and recurring – meaning that they are incurred regularly in the same amount. 


If these expenses do not recur on a regular basis, the Court may order both parents to share in these costs as they are incurred. For instance, many divorce settlement agreements or child support consent orders may stipulate that parents proportionately share in the costs of the children’s extracurricular activities or summer camps.


Other examples of extraordinary expenses that may go into a child support order include the costs of private school tuition; special expenses incurred for gifted children or children with special needs (e.g., the costs of tutoring or educational support services); or any other special expenses for the children’s benefit as approved by the Court. 


In addition, parents are often asked to share in unreimbursed medical expenses incurred on behalf of the children. Unreimbursed medical expenses can include the costs of co-pays, prescription drugs, therapy costs, the costs of braces or other orthodontic care, the costs of glasses, and most other medical expenses not otherwise covered by insurance. 


Typically, the Parent of Primary Residence or the custodial parent will pay the first $250 in unreimbursed medical expenses per child per year. Thereafter, the parties will typically share in these costs in proportion to their incomes.


Other Adjustments to the Child Support Guidelines


The Court may also adjust or deviate from the New Jersey Child Support Guidelines under other special circumstances. For instance, if the parents receive government benefits for the children, these benefits may be used to adjust a child support award. Government benefits may include Social Security payments or payments rendered by the government if the child was adopted out of the foster care system. 


The Guidelines may be adjusted if either parent has other legal dependents beyond the children contemplated in the child support order. Other dependents can include other biological or adopted children that either party has a legal duty to support. 


Lastly, if the parties are sharing exactly equal parenting time with the children, the party ordered to pay child support may request a downward deviation from the child support awarded under the Guidelines – sometimes referred to as a Wunsch-Deffler discount. The idea is that since both parents are spending equal time with the children, they are both bearing equal responsibility for the costs of the children’s care (such as the costs of their food and clothing), which should lessen the payor parent’s child support obligation.


What Happens If One Parent Does Not Pay Court-Ordered Child Support?


Unpaid child support is called “arrears”. If one parent willfully fails to pay court-ordered child support, the other parent may bring an enforcement action against them in Court. In an enforcement motion, the party bringing the petition can ask the Court to order the non-paying parent to make payments towards some of the arrears owed in addition to paying their basic child support obligation. For instance, a non-paying parent may be ordered to pay $50 per week in basic child support plus $10 per week towards any arrears owed. 


Consequences for not paying child support also include wage garnishment and levies against the non-paying party’s financial accounts. Depending on the amount of arrears owed, the non-paying party may become unable to apply for a passport or may have their passport revoked. They may have their driver’s license, fishing license, boating license, or hunting license suspended or revoked. If they serve in the military, the non-paying parent may be subject to consequences under the Uniform Code of Military Justice. Lastly, a parent willfully failing to pay child support may have their arrears reported to the credit reporting agencies or may even face jail time. 


When Can Child Support Be Modified?


Modification of child support is warranted when there has been a substantial change in circumstances. The major case governing the legal standard for modifying child support in New Jersey is Lepis v. Lepis.


Examples of changes in circumstances that may be sufficient to change child support include:


  • One parent’s involuntary loss of employment 

  • Major changes to the costs associated with caring for the child (for instance, due to disability or special needs)

  • One parent’s earning a promotion or raise

  • Changes to the custody and visitation arrangements


In addition, under New Jersey law, child support orders are subject to cost-of-living (COLA) adjustments and can be automatically increased without a court hearing in certain cases.


When Does Child Support Terminate? 


Child support terminates when the child reaches the age of emancipation. While many people assume child support ends when the child is the age of 18, in New Jersey, child support can continue up until age 23, depending on the circumstances. 


A skilled child support attorney near you can help you navigate the various considerations that come into play with a child support award. Family law and child support can be complex legal issues. The attorneys at Ormond Law can help ensure your legal rights and your children’s legal rights are being protected. Ormond Law has experience handling child support in Burlington County; child support in Camden County; child support in Gloucester County; and child support in Philadelphia. Schedule a free consultation with a child support lawyer at Ormond Law today and get the information and legal knowledge you need. 

More on Child Support

We will cover motions for continued child support and when child support payments end in New Jersey.

a courthouse on a sunny summer day with pedestrians passing.jpg

Email Us 24/7

We will contact you at the start of the following business day.

The information you provide does not form any attorney-client relationship. Please do not provide any description of your situation and do not ask any questions on the form. Please only provide the information the form requests. We must first conduct a conflict check and confirm there is no conflict of interest before we contact you.  By contacting us through this form, you authorize us to communicate with you by email and you agree to these terms and conditions.

bottom of page