When a new client with children walks into our office, one of the first questions he or she will ask is about child support – either how much he or she will have to pay or can expect to receive. In most cases, this question is answered by application of the New Jersey Child Support Guidelines.
A less frequently asked, but equally important question is what child-related expenses do child support payments cover and what child-related expenses must be addressed separately?
Child support payments which are made in accordance with the New Jersey Child Support Guidelines are meant to cover three categories of the recipient’s household expenses: fixed, variable, and controlled costs.
Fixed expenses are housing-related expenses. They include mortgage payments, rent, real estate taxes, utilities, household furnishings and household care items.
Variable costs are incurred only when the child is with the parent. Variable expenses include food and transportation costs. Controlled costs are those over which the primary caretaker of the child has direct control. This category includes clothing for the child, personal care products, entertainment, lessons, toys, and miscellaneous expenses such as magazines and school supplies.
Controlled costs also include unreimbursed medical expenses for the child up to the $250 per year which are the sole responsibility of the primary caretaker parent.
Expenses which are not automatically covered by child support but can be added to the Guidelines include the cost of: work-related childcare, health insurance coverage for the children, and predictable and recurring unreimbursed medical expenses for the children over $250 per year.
Common expenses which are not covered by child support and must be allocated separately between the parents are the cost of extra-curricular activities, summer camp, and school tuition.
If you want to learn more about child support please call our office today at 732-741- 2600 to set up a free initial consultation to learn more about this complex topic.