How to Calculate Child Support Payments in New Jersey

Learn how to calculate child support in New Jersey, when the amount of support may be different than what’s calculated under the state’s guidelines, and how to apply for, collect, and modify child support.

By , Legal Editor

How to Use the New Jersey Child Support Calculator

You can use the official New Jersey Guidelines Calculator to calculate the amount of support under New Jersey's current child support guidelines.

You'll need to have some basic information on hand before doing the calculations, including both parents' income, what your physical custody (parenting time) arrangements will be, and your expenses for the child's health insurance coverage and work-related child care. If you're still negotiating issues like custody and alimony, you might try multiple calculations under different scenarios.

Are Other Child Support Calculators Accurate?

Watch out for other websites with so-called child support calculators for New Jersey. Unfortunately, there's no guarantee that these calculators are accurate and up-to-date. New Jersey updates its child support guidelines regularly, and you usually can't tell whether any of these other websites have kept up with the latest changes.

It's best to stick with the official state calculator to get the most accurate estimate of the amount of child support you may pay or receive. But notice that word "estimate." As we discuss in this article, the judge may order a different amount in your case. Of course, the accuracy of the child support calculation will also depend on the accuracy of the information you provide.

When Child Support May Be Different Than the Guideline Calculation

New Jersey presumes that the amount calculated under the guidelines is the right amount, unless you can prove that a different amount would be appropriate because of specific circumstances in your case. Whether you and the child's other parent have agreed on a support amount or a judge decides for you, the judge will have to find that there was a good reason for departing (deviating) from the guidelines. (N.J. Rules of Court, App. IX-A(2) (2024).)

Learn more about how child support works in New Jersey, including factors judges must consider when deviating from the guidelines.

How to Apply for New Jersey Child Support

Typically, you'll apply for child support as part of the process of filing for divorce in New Jersey. You'll include your completed child support worksheet along with the other divorce papers.

If you aren't married to your child's other parent, you may get help with requesting support by applying for child support services from the New Jersey Department of Human Services (DHR). If needed, the DHR can help with establishing the child's legal paternity (or parentage) or locating the other parent.

How to Collect Child Support in New Jersey

If you're having trouble collecting support payments, the New Jersey DHR can also help enforce court-ordered child support by collecting and monitoring payments, withholding support from paychecks, intercepting tax refunds, reporting delinquent parents to the credit bureaus, and other enforcement methods. Use the online application mentioned above to request this assistance.

How to Change the Amount of Child Support

Either parent may request a modification in the amount of child support in New Jersey. Generally, you'll need to demonstrate that there has been a significant change in circumstances, such as a parent's involuntary job loss, and that the modification you're seeking would be in the child's best interests.

Every three years, you may request a review of your current child support order from your County Board of Social Services Agency to see if it warrants a modification.

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