When couples part ways, their separation does not discharge them from their responsibility to continuously support their child’s sustenance, growth and development. In situations like this, a support order from the court is necessary to ensure that parents provide financial support for their children.
The common coverage of a support order
Generally, a support order covers a child’s basic necessities, such as food, clothing, shelter, education and health care needs. However, it can also include other expenses that will further the child’s growth and development, such as costs for recreational activities and travel. Ultimately, the court will decide on the coverage based on the child’s best interests.
How courts determine support terms
In New Jersey, courts use specific guidelines to determine the amount and duration of child support. When calculating child support, judges use a complex formula based on factors such as the parents’ combined net income, the number of children, the cost of day care and health care and other relevant considerations.
Unless the use of the guidelines is inappropriate given the circumstances, there is an assumption that support awards based on the guidelines are correct.
Grounds for support modification
Parents can request the court to review and change the terms of the support order every three years if the support amount would change based on the current income and living situation of each parent and the child.
It is also possible to petition the court to modify the support order before the three-year period if there are substantial and unanticipated changes in circumstances that are expected to be permanent or last for a long time.
Rules on child support can be complicated and overwhelming. Nonetheless, knowing the basics can help you understand the process better and maintain your expectations. In case of doubts, seeking guidance from an experienced legal representative can help you find the answers you are looking for.