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Should I Agree to Child Support Outside of Court?

Child Support Agreement

Attorneys Protect Your Rights

Child support can be a contentious topic among parents with children in common.  Whether you are going through a divorce, separation, or are a single parent, you are entitled to collect child support on behalf of your child.  The child support can be agreed upon by both parties but should only be done after careful consideration and review of all relevant factors set forth in the child support guidelines.  Our attorneys will assist you in determining the reasonableness of the proposed child support by applying the same guidelines that the courts use to accomplish this, and utilizing our experience to assess potential influential factors outside of the guidelines.

What is the purpose of child support?

To better understand whether child support is reasonable or should be agreed to, you must first understand what it is. Child support is a financial payment from one parent to the other for the benefit of their children. The intention of the legislature in mandating support throughout the state is to ensure enough combined income to financially support the needs of the children.   In keeping with that intention, the courts have devised a formula for calculating child support in a given situation. The formula is also known as the child support guidelines. These guidelines take into all of a child’s b basic needs, such as food, shelter, transportation, clothing entertainment, healthcare, and medical expenses.

What are the child support guidelines in New Jersey?

As noted above, the child support guidelines are a standardized formula for determining child support.  The factors included when calculating support under the guidelines are::

  • The incomes of the parties
  • The ages of the children
  • Benefits paid
  • Spousal support
  • Number of overnights spent with the children

In most cases, attorneys collect the above information from the respective party’s W-2s and tax returns.  The collected information is then entered into the child support program, which generates a number that is necessary to support the children.  The number that is generated by the guideline worksheet is then used to set forth the amount that the parent of alternative residence must pay the parent of a primary residence to assist in supporting the children.

Many people who agree to numbers without the assistance of an attorney or using these guidelines can short change themselves. If you are unaware of what you are legally entitled to pay or receive, you may ultimately agree to pay too much or accept too little.  Seeking the assistance of an attorney is advisable, as you need to know all of the factors to be taken into consideration in setting child support.

In some cases, the income of the parties is above the ordinary amounts accounted for in the child support guidelines.  In these cases, careful accounting of the needs of the child and the standard of living should be taken into account. This is often beyond the scope of the typical guidelines and must be done with great care.

Should I agree to child support?

After seeking the assistance of an attorney, only you can determine whether you should agree to child support. Any person who is in involved in a situation concerning child support can agree to a figure that simply is not in their, or their child’s, best interests. Making an educated decision based upon all information is absolutely necessary when reaching an agreement on child support.  For example, you must consider other costs such as childcare, summer camp, extracurricular activities, laptops/phones, insurance, cars-transportation costs, educational costs, etc. when determining if the basic child support calculation is enough.  The child support guidelines do not take these costs into consideration. If your children have other needs of daily living, you need to consider all costs not covered under the child support guidelines.

Contact our Family Law Attorneys Today

Only after you fully understand and appreciate the factors involved should you agree to child support.  Our attorneys will discuss all of the possible expenses associated with raising your children and explain how the child support guidelines apply to your case.  Contact our office today for more information.

If you are looking for child support guidelines and learn more support obligation because of a job loss, disability, or other substantial change in circumstances, we can protect your rights. At Jacobs Berger, our Morristown family law attorneys have extensive experience in cases involving child support and child support modification. Contact our office today at (973) 447-3943 for a consultation.