Child support in New Jersey for parties with combined net (after tax) income of less than $187,200 per year ($3,600 per week), are supposed to be determined based upon the Child Support Guidelines. The Guidelines are based upon economic data of what it costs to raise a child.
That economic data has been reviewed and, as a result, there are proposed changes to the child support guidelines that may actually see the figures going down, especially for multiple children. The Supreme Court has published the proposed changes on the Court’s website.
As noted in the New Jersey Law Journal, the state Supreme Court’s Family Practice Committee is recommending rule revisions that would allow child-support determinations to be based on a broader and more accurate picture of family spending. Specifically, the committee urges adoption of a new award schedule that “for the first time captures spending in families over a twelve year period,” from 2000 through 2011, which “encompasses prosperous years, recession years and the current slow recovery years.”
For sake of reference, at the highest level, the weekly amount of child support to be apportioned between both parents based upon their percentage shares of net income is follows:
No. of Children 1 2 3 4 5 6
Current $453 $606 $658 $733 $806 $877
Proposed $571 $589 $731 $803 $884 $973
Interestingly, the proposed weekly support for one child increases by $118 but the support for two child decreases by $17. Moreover, the support only increases by $18 per week from one to two children under the proposed new guidelines when under the current guidelines, it increased by $153 per week. What this suggests is that the marginal cost of a second child, under the current data reviewed, is insignificant. However, the support then increases again for three, four, five and six children over the prior guidelines. The proposed schedule can be found at the above link. You can click here for the current schedule.
The above is just a snapshot of the highest level of guideline support, however, similar changes appear throughout lower levels of the Guidelines. As this is now open for a comment period, it will be interesting to see if there will be any changes before this is implemented. Stay tuned.
Eric Solotoff is the editor of the New Jersey Family Legal Blog and the Co-Chair of the Family Law Practice Group of Fox Rothschild LLP. Certified by the Supreme Court of New Jersey as a Matrimonial Lawyer and a Fellow of the American Academy of Matrimonial Attorneys, Eric practices in Fox Rothschild’s Roseland, New Jersey office though he practices throughout New Jersey. You can reach Eric at (973)994-7501, or firstname.lastname@example.org.