Even if they are no longer married or living together, both parents are still responsible for the physical, emotional, and mental health of their children. That means providing the essentials to live a healthy life – food, clothing, and a safe place to live. Child support is means of ensuring these needs are met throughout childhood.
Overview of Child Support in New Jersey
In every child support scenario, there are two parents. The parent living primarily with the child and attending to their day-to-day needs usually receives child support. The other parent pays support so that both parents share in the child’s day to day needs.
In New Jersey, child support terms are established in the child support order. The amount of support is determined according to the New Jersey Child Support Guidelines. The child support order clarifies how much each parent will contribute for the child’s care and who will assume coverage for the child’s health insurance. The contribution to the child support by each parent is based on his or her income.
Expenses Commonly Covered by Child Support
Child support is used to cover life’s “basics” – food, clothing, and shelter. Yet every parent knows children come with a multitude of extra expenses that may or may not be covered under the New Jersey Child Support Guidelines. These include things like:
- Entertainment and recreation
- Extracurricular activity fees
- Private school education costs
- Uninsured medical services
- Vacations and travel
To clarify this fuzzy area, your Somerville family law lawyer generally recommends addressing all of these additional expenses in your Property Settlement Agreement or in an additional Consent Order. Clarifying which parent pays the essentials and all of life’s extras goes a long way to make co-parenting more peaceful. Child support applies to all parents whether or not they have ever been married.
Parents who agree to determine child support through mediation calculate a base amount using the New Jersey Child Support Guidelines. Apart from that base amount, parents can agree to cover the non-essential expenses as well such as extra-curricular activities or fees incurred when applying to colleges. The right path for parents depends on how amicable the relationship is, the shared goals for their children, and their feelings about what each child needs to live a healthy and fulfilling life.
Somerville Child Support Lawyers at Lyons & Associates, P.C. Help Clients Navigate Complex Divorce Matters
Child support can be a sticky issue for even the most cooperative parents. Couples often break up because they do not share the same values or goals. That often carries over into what expenses parents are willing or unwilling to pay for. The Somerville child support lawyers at Lyons & Associates, P.C. have experience resolving a host of child support disputes and creating terms that both parents agree are fair and reasonable.
To discuss how to move forward and propose, negotiate, or enforce child support, schedule a free consultation in our Somerville or Morristown, New Jersey offices. To get started, call 908-575-9777 or contact us online. We represent clients in and around the areas of Somerset, Woodbridge, Morristown, Parsippany, Rockaway, Short Hills, Chatham, Randolph, Madison, and Morris Plains, New Jersey.