Most parents in New Jersey understand that if they end up getting a divorce there is a likelihood that one of them may end up paying some form of child support if the other parent is given the right to be the primary residential parent. However, that doesn’t necessarily make it easier to come to an agreement on how much that support should be. For this reason, New Jersey has set up a child support guidelines process that is supposed to calculate a minimum amount of support a child living in the state will need, depending on the child’s age, the incomes of the child’s parents and some other factors.
These guidelines, however, are only meant to take into consideration so-called ordinary expenses for the children. Ordinary expenses include basics like food, clothing and shelter, as well as entertainment, health insurance and some portions of unreimbursed healthcare expenses. However, as any parent knows, there are many more expenses involved in raising a child. What about special soccer camp, or band lessons or birthday presents? These are called extraordinary expenses in the family law community.
While some parents will argue that normal extracurricular activities are covered in the guideline support payments as entertainment, the primary residential parent may be able to request payments above and beyond the guideline amount of they can be shown to be extraordinary. This might occur if the child was especially gifted in some area, or had a special need that had to be taken care of. One extraordinary expense that is often cited is the need for private school tuition. To be awarded a partial payment for this, a parent may need to provide evidence of the child’s academic record and the quality of available public or less-expensive schools.
Of course, in an ideal divorce, parents in New Jersey will come to an agreement about how each of them should contribute to the children’s well-being. Being proactive and coming up with this kind of solution after taking all the expenses into account, like car insurance and prom expenses as the children get older, will often save time and money in the long run, as it may lessen the need for litigation. However, parents should be sure to understand how the law works and the rights that they have under the family law code.