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Factors the court uses to determine child support

On Behalf of | Jan 4, 2021 | Child Support

Divorcing couples in New Jersey and Pennsylvania have many changes to make, including to their finances. If you have children and you’re considering a divorce or breakup, you’ve most likely thought about child support and whether you’ll be the one to pay or receive it.

What are child support payments used for?

Many people think that child support payments primarily benefit the child’s caregiver. However, these payments actually exist to benefit the child. Examples of a child’s needs may include clothing, housing, food and health care. The following is a basic breakdown of factors that could influence child support payments.

Each parent’s income

The first and most important factor in determining child support payments is each parent’s income. At the beginning of each child support case, parents must submit these documents to the court:

  • Recent pay stubs
  • W-2 tax documents
  • Other documents that show proof of income

Several types of documents may provide proof of income, such as rental income, commissions, tips or other compensation provided by employers.

The child’s needs

Before determining child support decisions, courts normally ask each parent to fill out a form that will provide a complete overview of their financial situation. The court usually takes the parents’ and child’s needs into account when deciding on payment amounts. This could include the child’s physical and emotional needs, the standard of living the child was accustomed to before, and the custodial parent’s financial situation and needs.

The number of overnight visits

Courts typically consider the number of overnight visits the non-custodial parent has. The intent of factoring this in is to credit each parent for the amount of time they’re financially responsible for the child.

Going through a divorce can be emotionally taxing, especially if you have kids. A family law attorney may provide you with more information about your state’s specific child support laws and what you might expect in your case.