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How is Child Support Calculated in New Jersey?

By Jamie Berger, Esq.

Child support is a complex, nuanced issue, and it’s also one of the most commonly litigated and negotiated issues. There’s no questioning the fact that the law provides that child support is the right of your child—but you may find yourself with plenty of questions about how child support may affect you financially. 

With case law continuously evolving and no one-size-fits-all approach that works for every family, it’s important to work with an experienced family law attorney who can navigate the complexities of the issue as they pertain to your unique circumstances and who can help find solutions that work for you.

Understanding the New Jersey Child Support Guidelines    

In most cases, the New Jersey Child Support Guidelines are the starting point for attorneys and the courts to calculate the appropriate amount of child support. Data is put into calculation software, which can include but not be limited to information such as: 

  • Income of each respective parent
  • Number of children
  • Parenting time

In New Jersey, these guidelines are set by Court Rule 5:6A, with Appendix IX-A covering how to use them. 

The New Jersey Child Support Guidelines Calculator is only to be used for informational purposes, as the New Jersey Child Support Guidelines don’t dictate how payments are made, how each parent’s income should be calculated, or how to address expenses that fall outside of what is included within the Guideline definition. 

They also don’t include scenarios for high-income earning families, where the Guidelines may not apply. Also, this calculator does not contain all of the nuanced data that can be placed into the more robust software, which includes other government benefits received for a child, the ages of the children, other types of income, etc. 

These Guidelines also don’t necessarily account for the potential of changing circumstances over the years, in which case your child support orders may need to be modified. That said, the established Guidelines can offer a framework for how much each parent can expect to pay or receive in child support payments, should both parties choose not to deviate from them. 

Factors to consider when calculating child support

Every situation is different, and as a result, there are multiple factors to consider when calculating child support. 

Custody and parenting time

When determining child support obligations, one of the most important factors taken into consideration is any existing child custody and parenting time agreements between both parents. 

When calculating child support, the Guidelines contemplate how much time each parent spends with the child, and how that may affect the outlay of costs related to the child. The proportion of overnights (which the case law has modified further) affects the allocation of support between the parties. This is a fact-sensitive situation, and you should speak with an experienced family law attorney, especially if your family has non-traditional work, including overnight shifts or significant travel obligations.  


Another factor that bears weight in any child support determination is the income of both parents. For example, if both parents have comparable incomes, support may be less from one parent to another. On the other hand, even if one parent makes a significantly higher income than the other, they may still be required to pay more in child support as a result of other factors including parenting time, tax obligations, whether there are other dependent deductions, and the like. 

Along with each parent’s income, additional financial considerations include but are not limited to: 

  • Profits from business ownership or investments
  • Royalties, bonuses, capital gains, and interest on investments
  • Annuities or other gains from a trust
  • Distributions from social security, lawsuits, retirement plans, unemployment benefits, and more
  • Child support payments or obligations for children from another relationship (deducted from eligible gross income) 

Additional factors

Additional factors that are considered when calculating child support in New Jersey include: 

  • The number and ages of children involved
  • Whether one parent has medical insurance for the children and the children’s proportional cost of such medical insurance
  • The marital status of each parent
  • Existing child support payments that exist as part of a separate agreement
  • Special needs of children such as costly medical treatments, education, and more 
  • Whether either parent has mandatory deductions from their pay, including union dues and other obligations 

There are also changing circumstances that may call for the modification of existing child support agreements, such as: 

  • Receiving a raise or promotion
  • Losing a home
  • Experiencing a serious illness or disability
  • Changing federal or state income tax laws

If the court finds a sufficient change in circumstances, both parents would need to submit up-to-date financial information before the court potentially changes your child support agreement. 

What to know about temporary child support

Temporary child support calculations are also generally based on the New Jersey Child Support Guidelines where the Guidelines apply, using similar determining factors. For those currently going through divorce proceedings, though, child custody agreements and other arrangements may not yet be finalized. As a result, the temporary child support calculations may look different from the final calculations. 

Regardless of any differences in calculations, temporary child support payments will not impact the formal child support agreement. 

Work with a New Jersey child support attorney

In New Jersey, child support is the right of the child, and it is compulsory. As child support attorneys, we consider all the necessary factors to help you develop creative, future-minded solutions that are part of securing financial stability for your family.

Contact our team to coordinate your strategy planning session.

Contact Our Morristown Attorneys Today

At Jacobs Berger, our attorneys are experienced in protecting our clients across Madison, Randolph, Tewksbury, Morristown, and the greater Morris County area in all family law-related issues.

To schedule a strategic planning session with one of our experienced team members regarding your particular case, please contact us online or through our Morristown, NJ office at (973) 354-4506.