By Jamie E. Galemba, Esq.
—-Generally, the New Jersey Child Support Guidelines are employed to determine child support awards. There are a few circumstances when the guidelines would not be used for the calculation of child support. First, parties are always free to agree to any figure they want as a child support figure. In that instance, the parties circumvent any decision the Court would make with respect to child support. However, assuming that the Court is involved, if the parties have either extremely high combined income or exceptionally low combined income, the child support guidelines figure will be adjusted.
What exactly does “extreme” mean? Under the Court Rules for 2012, the threshold for “high” income is a combined net income of $187,200.00. In other words, if both parties’ incomes after taxes exceed $187,200.00, then the Court will determine a custom child support amount. For example, if one party grosses $300,000.00 and the other party earns $50,000.00, their net income will be higher than the threshold, and a custom child support figure will be determined. The Court will run the child support guidelines and then supplement the obligation in this scenario. The extent of the supplement varies case by case, but it involves an analysis of the lifestyles of the parties and the children involved. The Court does not expect a child accustomed to a privileged lifestyle to be limited to a modest lifestyle, when there are funds available to maintain the former lifestyle.
Conversely, there are circumstances in which parties have extremely low income, and therefore the child support guidelines are not simply applied under these circumstances. What constitutes an “extreme” low income case? Under the Court Rules for 2012, if an obligor (party with the responsibility of paying support) has net income which is less than 105%, of the U.S. poverty guidelines, after deducting the child support from his or her gross income, such a scenario is considered a low income matter. In this circumstance, the Court will review the obligor’s expenses and income to determine a child support obligation that will not deprive a party of his or her right to subsist at a minimum level.
In either situation, it is imperative to prepare a complete and accurate Case Information Statement, which is the document used by the Court to determine the lifestyles of the parties and the children. While filling out a Case Information Statement can be daunting, it may just be the single most important document a party completes in family law matters. A knowledgeable, skilled New Jersey child support attorney can assist you in providing a fair and accurate representation of your financial situation and in obtaining an equitable child support award.
Call the Camden County Divorce Attorneys at Adinolfi & Lieberman to Discuss Your Child Custody Matter
If you are dealing with child support issues, it is imperative that you seek representation from experienced, knowledgeable attorneys well versed in the intricacies of the applicability or non-applicability of the New Jersey Child Support Guidelines. No two child support matters are the same and the application of the Guidelines is not necessarily hard and fast. An attorney who handles child support matters regularly will attest to how complex and complicated child support proceeding can become. Schedule an appointment with one of the Camden County divorce attorneys at Adinolfi & Lieberman to discuss what considerations will come into play in your case. Call our Haddonfield office at 856-428-8334 or contact us online.