Above Guidelines Child Support
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In New Jersey law, there are guidelines governing child support and they apply in most cases. However, there are occasions where they do not entirely apply. Perhaps this is your situation. If so, our Monmouth County child support lawyers may be able to help.
Are You "Above the Guidelines?"
If the divorcing parents have a combined net income that is greater than $187,200, the child support guidelines no longer entirely apply. They apply only to a portion of that income, the amount up to $187,200. For the amount above the $187,200 figure, the court must apply a more subjective analysis to determine the appropriate level of support. This is why these situations are referred to as "above the guidelines."
If this describes your situation, there is much for you to consider. Let us help. Contact the Law Office of Steven P. Monaghan, LLC today to schedule your free consultation as soon as possible!
How the Court Analyzes "Above the Guidelines" Income
Although this analysis is more subjective than the child support guidelines, there are still standards to consider, as determined by the New Jersey Appellate Court in a 2002 court case.*
In this case, the court established that there first must be a calculation of two separate budgets, one for the parents and the child and one solely for the custodial parent. The custodial parent's budget should generally be separated into two distinct categories: the component dictated by income, and the additional potential which would allow the children to share in their parents' gains.
For example, this could include paying for:
- Private tutoring
- Private school tuition
- Summer camps
- Study abroad programs
- Sports clinics
- Music or art lessons
For a teenaged child, it could also include providing a car, clothing allowance and covering car expenses.
The courts have recognized that a component of the parents' high income may include savings for the child that is typically above and beyond any traditional 529 plan.
Although the courts have understood that present over-indulgence may be a legitimate consideration in a current child support award, a true sharing in a parent's financial earnings may include a potential for future savings and the securing of a child's future, since both income and current needs may change over time.
What This All Means to You
Thus, when the divorcing parents have a combined net total income (after taxes) in excess of $187,200, there is no clear cut estimate of the child support. Rather, applying a thoughtful and specific calculation for each child is warranted, considering the various budgets in a parent's income. If your combined net income is above the guidelines, calculating child support now becomes more complicated. We can help. Contact the Monmouth County divorce lawyers at the Law Office of Steven P. Monaghan!
To arrange for your free initial consultation, call (732) 624-6343.
*Isaacson v. Isaacson 348 N.J. Super. 560 (App. Div. 2002)
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