Making Certain Your Child Support Order is Fair
In every state, including New Jersey, there are state-established guidelines for the calculation of child support. You don’t have to let the amount of support be determined by the guidelines, though—you can agree to accept or pay more or less than called for, though the court will still review your agreement to ensure that there is no duress, undue influence or other inappropriate conduct leading to the agreement.
Establishing a Fair Amount
If you are trying to come to an agreement regarding child support, you should start with an assessment of what is needed to provide for the child, as well as the ability of the non-custodial parent to make payments. It may seem at first blush that, if both parents have the same income, they should both contribute the same amount to support the child. Accordingly, when both parents have the same earning capacity, or when the custodial parent earns more than the non-custodial parent, the perception is that there shouldn’t be any support obligation. This, however, is not how courts perceive or order child support.
Ideally, you will identify an amount that meaningfully contributes to the needs of the child without either forcing the non-custodial parent into a financially difficult situation or leaving the custodial parent with the bulk of the child’s expense. You may want to try to get as much support as possible, but remember that your children will have visitation with your ex-spouse. You want your ex-spouse to provide safe accommodations that meet the needs of your children.
Regardless of which side of the support issue you are on, it’s important to remember that ultimately it’s about the impact the support order will have on your children. If you refuse to pay enough support to provide a healthy and safe environment for your children, they are the ones who suffer most. If you demand more support than your ex can reasonably pay, you have to be concerned about the quality of the accommodations, and how they are provided for, when they are with your ex.
Contact Morgenstern & Rochester
At Morgenstern & Rochester, our two partners have almost 50 years of combined family law experience. We are a boutique family law firm that takes a hands-on approach. When you hire us, you will always work directly with one of our partners, never with an inexperienced associate or a paralegal.