There are significant changes to the New Jersey child support laws with regard to calculating the amount of child support which will be effected on September 1, 2013. The New Jersey Supreme Court appointed a Family Practice Committee to review the previous guidelines for calculating child support in New Jersey. The Family Practice Committee, state and federal agencies, and an appointed economist, worked together to gather and share data. On April 10, 2013, a report was submitted with recommendations for changes to the guidelines.
One of the most significant changes in NJ regarding child support, to be effective on September 1, 2013, comes from more recent data about what families spend on children as calculated by economists. Incorporating these updated estimates into the formula for calculating NJ child support impacts the child support obligations in virtually every case involving children.
The Family Practice Committee report expanded the concept of child support to include other certain expenses and unusual family situations. For example, the report suggested judges should have discretion to be able to take into account expenses for a child’s car, situations where siblings have different parenting time schedules, or situations where parents have equal time with the children.
On September 1, 2013, changes in the NJ child support laws will affect how the NJ child support guidelines treat benefits paid to a child because of a parent’s disability, such as payments from Social Security when a parent receives Social Security Disability.
The recommendations in the Family Practice Committee report regarding changes to the New Jersey child support guidelines were reviewed by various groups of attorneys and judges throughout the State of New Jersey, such as the American Academy of Matrimonial Lawyers and the Family Law Executive Committee of the New Jersey State Bar Association. These two groups formed a committee to submit both positive and negative reactions to the recommended modifications. Our own attorney Christopher Musulin acted as the chair of the committee for the American Academy of Matrimonial Lawyers. He joined similar groups in presenting observations and input to the New Jersey Supreme Court.
On July 9, 2013, the New Jersey Supreme Court issued an Order that amends several provisions of our Court Rules, including many changes to the NJ child support calculations based on the suggestions of the Family Practice Committee report. These changes to the NJ child support laws become effective September 1, 2013 and will be applied by judges throughout New Jersey when asked to resolve child support issues.