We’re Separated – How Will We Support Our Child?
You have been in a long-term relationship with your significant other but have decided it is time for you both to go your separate ways. You hope that you can work amicably with each other as you have a child together and want to make the separation as seamless of a transition as possible. When considering the logistics of how caring for the child will work once you are separated, it is very common to ask – how will we support the child? What will I be responsible to pay for and what will the other parent be required to contribute toward? For the parent who has historically earned more, you may have heard horror stories about friends who were divorced or separated and who were ordered to pay thousands of dollars per month for this support. It is important to remember that every case is different and that while your friend may have received a certain result, the result may not be the same in your matter.
In the State of New Jersey, both parents are required to contribute toward the financial support of the child. The most common form of financial support is child support, which is the right of the child and may be requested by either parent. Child support is calculated utilizing the New Jersey Child Support Guidelines Calculations – a software program that allows you to input information that is utilized to determine a weekly child support obligation.
The most common information included in the child support guidelines calculation is the gross income of both parents, the number of overnights each parent is exercising with the child, the cost to provide medical, dental, and vision insurance coverage for the child, and the cost of work-related daycare. The child support guideline calculations also consider additional information that may not apply to everyone. For example, if you have a child from a prior relationship, you may be entitled to receive an Other Dependent Deduction credit, which ensures the costs to support your child from a prior relationship are considered when determining a potential support obligation for the other child.
In addition to a child support obligation per the child support guidelines, parents have an obligation to contribute toward the child’s unreimbursed/uncovered medical expenses and mutually agreed upon extraordinary expenses for the child such as summer camp, prom, class trips, and related expenses. If you can reach an agreement with the other parent regarding your respective financial obligations to the child, your agreement can be solidified in a Marital Settlement Agreement if it is part of a divorce process, or through a Consent Order if it is not part of a divorce process or post-divorce. If you cannot reach an agreement, you have the option of filing an application with the Court seeking an Order setting forth the other parent’s financial responsibilities to the child.
If you have any questions about your potential child support obligation or the amount of child support you may receive, please contact an Obermayer family law attorney who can assist you.
The information contained in this publication should not be construed as legal advice, is not a substitute for legal counsel, and should not be relied on as such. For legal advice or answers to specific questions, please contact one of our attorneys.