4 Child Support and Alimony Facts
What’s Important To Know About Child Support and Alimony in New Jersey
Between the proposal of marriage and the commencement of divorce proceedings, two partners can change immensely. Over the course of a marriage, both spouses may advance in their fields, change career paths entirely, add professional degrees to their resumes, and lose a job or two along the way. Having children complicates matters even further, as their desires and needs must be considered during every stage of the marriage and each step of the divorce. Even the most amicable of divorces have the potential to become complicated by the matters of child support and alimony. Fortunately, New Jersey has laws in place to smooth these aspects of the divorce process as much as possible, and if you are anticipating difficulty as you work to conclude your marriage, these four facts about child support and alimony will tell you what to expect.
- There Are Guidelines That Take the Guesswork out of Child Support.
The New Jersey Child Support Guidelines determine child support obligations, accounting for children’s health insurance, education, and daycare, as well as the gross income of both spouses. The guidelines, however, only apply to couples whose combined net income is between $8,840 and $187,200 (or between $170 and $3,600 per week). If parents have a net income above $3,600 per week, the court will add a discretionary amount based on factors including parents’ assets and sources of income, standards of living, the child’s specific needs, and each parent’s ability to earn a living. If the parents’ combined net income is lower than $170 per week, the court will award discretionary support based on the child’s needs.
- Physical Custody and Children’s Ages Matter as Much as Income.
The New Jersey Child Support Guidelines provide two different sets of worksheets to determine child support obligations. If you have physical custody of your child less than 28% of the time, or for fewer than 105 nights per year, you will use the sole parenting worksheet. If you have custody for more than 28% of the year, you will use the shared parenting worksheet. This will be a factor in determining your level of child support.
Because child support calculations are based on an average of 17 years, older children can be a complicating factor. As a rule, when the child is 12 or older at the time of support calculations, the final figure should be adjusted upward by 14.6%.
- There Are Four Types of Alimony, and Two Depend on the Length of the Marriage.
The state of New Jersey recognizes four types of alimony. It is important to know what is available—and what your spouse might expect from you. Open durational alimony is awarded in cases of long-term marriages, that is, those at least 20 years in length. This assumes that the paying spouse will cease payments upon retirement, although payments might continue in some cases. Limited durational alimony, on the other hand, is based on a specific, pre-determined time frame. A partner ending a 12-year marriage might expect to pay alimony for the next 12 years.
- The Other Two Types of Alimony Rely on Education and Income.
Rehabilitative alimony helps one spouse return to the workplace. For example, a former professional who left the workplace during a marriage might expect rehabilitative alimony to help her or him seek recertification or reinstatement of a license. Reimbursement alimony entails one spouse receiving reimbursement for monies spent on the other. For example, if one spouse pays for the other to pursue a Master’s degree, and that spouse leaves after receiving the degree, the latter spouse might be required to reimburse her or his ex-partner for those costs. The type of alimony appropriate for any given case is relatively easy to determine. The real point of contention, of course, is generally not the type of alimony, but how much alimony a spouse will pay.
Just as no two people are the same, neither are any two marriages. Just because there are different reasons leading up to every divorce, however, this does not mean that each couple must endure unnecessary challenges as they seek to separate. When one spouse’s finances or ability to work is drastically affected by a divorce, or if an even physical custody split cannot be reached, it is important to have guidelines in place to ease the transition out of marriage. If you have any concerns about how child support and alimony are determined, contact our team of attorneys to better prepare for your divorce and learn further essential information about family and marital law.
Christopher Leon Garibian, Esq. is a partner in the matrimonial and family law department of Weiner Law Group LLP. He has over 19 years of experience handling a multitude of Divorce and Family Law Matters throughout New Jersey. He is passionate about family law and takes pride in his ability to effectuate real change in the lives of his clients. He is certified by the State Supreme Court of New Jersey as a Matrimonial Attorney. If you are in need of an experienced Divorce Attorney or Family Law Attorney in NJ, contact us today for compassionate, long lasting legal solutions.