If there’s one thing that parents fear when it comes to divorce, other than losing contact with their children, it is losing a significant amount of their income to child support payments. Despite prevalent myths from people claiming that the state has taken more than half of their paycheck to cover support, New Jersey has rules in place meant to balance the needs of non-custodial parents with those of the other parent and kids.

The state makes every effort to set reasonable support amounts that a parent can pay while still providing for themselves. Understanding what factors influence the amount of child support can help you better advocate for yourself and your children regardless of whether you receive or pay child support.

Income, family size and special needs all matter

New Jersey does have specific guidelines based on income and family size that can give you an estimate of the approximate amount of child support that would be appropriate for your family. Obviously, with more children come higher support requirements.

Additionally, the income of the household and the standard of living that the children know also impacts how much support a parent has to pay. The courts will look at the needs of the children, such as special health expenses or educational costs incurred by children with special needs. All of these different considerations have an impact on the final amount of support that the courts order.

The set amount of support is changeable if necessary

As a general rule, the courts will routinely evaluate child support amounts every few years to make sure that they are still appropriate. However, life often changes more quickly than that, and the New Jersey family courts have more cases than time and space to hear them, which means that lower-priority cases could face serious delays.

If a child develops a medical issue, if a parent loses the job or if other factors directly impact one parent’s ability to pay or the amount of support that the family requires, either parent has the right to request a modification hearing. Modifications involve the court reviewing the changes to your family circumstances carefully to decide if they should increase or decrease the ordered amount of support.

Whether you find yourself pushing for appropriate support levels in your divorce proceedings or seeking a modification, help from someone who understands this system can make New Jersey child support easier for you to navigate.