Knowing When the Guidelines Actually Guide Judges

The Child Support Guidelines Do Not Apply in All Circumstances

Pile of MoneyFirst-time family court litigants are often dismayed to learn that the Court considers their gross income (as opposed to net or “take-home” pay) when calculating child support. That does not mean that “net” income doesn’t matter. In fact, it’s a critical factor for certain parents.

Per the standard set forth in Appendix IX-B, the New Jersey Child Support Guidelines do not apply in instances when the parties earn a net income of less than $170 per week ($8,840 per year) or more than $3,600 per week ($187,200 per year). Courts refer to these circumstances as “off-guidelines” cases. Net income is defined by the Guidelines as

…gross income minus income taxes, mandatory union dues, mandatory retirement, previously ordered child support orders, and when appropriate a theoretical child support obligation for other dependents.”

Other exceptions to the Guidelines’s applicability which we’ve blogged about in the past include situations where college students live on campus or, in less common circumstances, when the parents simply elect to waive child support or consent to an off-guidelines amount. However, even in the latter circumstance, public policy allows for modifications as circumstances substantially change.

Child support can be as complicated as it is important to your family. If you have questions involving the calculation of a child support obligation, then please don’t hesitate to contact the South Jersey child support attorneys at DeMichele and DeMichele. Call 856-546-1350 today ti schedule your confidential consultation with an experienced child support and family law attorney.