In order to provide uniform standards for child support, New Jersey has enacted the New Jersey Child Support Guidelines in determining the amount of child support an obligor is required to pay.
Child Support Guidelines are outlined in New Jersey Rules of Court R. 5:6(a) and set forth in the Appendix IX of the New Jersey Court Rules. The amount of child support is determined upon the parties' combined weekly gross income. The guidelines also include incorporations for the number of overnights provided to each parent, any health insurance premiums paid by each parent, the cost of work related child care paid by each parent, and any state or government benefit provided to the child such as social security benefits. The Child Support Guidelines also allow an "other dependant deductions" for parties who have additional children or child support orders. The child support guidelines will take into consideration any alimony paid or received. It should also be noted that there is an upward modification of the child support guidelines for 14.9% when a child is over the age of 12 years old.
The rational behind the guidelines is that basic child support is broken down into three components:
1. 38% of the award is allocated for fixed expenses such as housing an utilities which are incurred even when the child is not residing with the custodial parent;
2. 30% are variable costs which include transportation and food; and
3. 25% are controlled costs for clothing, personal care and entertainment.
One of the benefits of the Child Support Guidelines is that it takes away any dispute regarding the determination of child support. The guidelines only apply however, if the parties earn income under $187,200.00 net after taxes are paid. If the parties earn more than $187,200.00 net, the Child Support Guidelines will not apply.
The Child Support Guidelines are mandatory to be calculated in all cases where the income applies, but the parties and/or the Court have the right to deviate from the guidelines where the circumstances require.