Practice Areas

Child Support and College Contribution

Both parents have a duty to support their children. Each parent is required to pay a proportional share of the amount needed to support the children based on his or her ability to do so. In addition to the respective incomes of the parties, the Court can take into consideration the assets and property of the parties.

Parents have an obligation to support their children until the children become emancipated. "Emancipation" means when a child is deemed to be self-sufficient. A child is not automatically emancipated when he or she turns 18 years of age or graduates from high school. Child support may continue while the child attends college or even pursues post-college education.

In most cases, the amount of child support to be paid by the non-custodial parent is determined by utilizing the New Jersey Child Support Guidelines. (R. 5:6-A). Using these complex and detailed guidelines, a child support determination is made by using a worksheet and making a mathematical calculation. The calculations take into consideration the gross incomes of the parties, income from businesses, exclusions from gross income, non-taxable income, deductions and exemptions from gross income, support orders from other relationships, work-related child care expenses, the costs of medical insurance for the children, and extraordinary medical or dental expenses for the children. The worksheets also take into consideration the number of overnights that the child spends with the non-custodial parent. They also take into consideration any alimony be paid or received by the parties in this action. All of these factors will have an impact on the amount of child support to be paid.

In some cases, it is not appropriate to calculate child support pursuant to the New Jersey Child Support Guidelines. In those cases, in determining the appropriate amount of child support to be paid by the non-custodial parent, the Court must consider the following factors: (N.J.S.A. 2A:34-23a)

  1. The needs of the child.
  2. The standard living and economic circumstances of each parent.
  3. All sources of income and assets of each parent.
  4. The earning abilities of each parent.
  5. The need and capacity of the child for education, including higher education.
  6. The age and health of the child and each parent.
  7. The income, assets and earning ability of the child.
  8. The responsibility of the parents for Court-Ordered support of others.
  9. The reasonable debts and liabilities of each child and parent.
  10. Any other factors the Court may deem relevant.