Child Support

Court Calculates Child Support for Obligations with Multiple Family Child Support Obligations

The child support case of Harte v Hand, 20-4-5336, Chy. Div. Atlantic City (Dec. 22, 2014), sets forth the methodology to equitably determine child support in New Jersey cases of multiple family obligations, expanding on the Appellate Division’s recent decision in Harte v. Hand, 433 N.J. Super. 457 (App. Div. 2013). Additionally, it clarifies the effect of the self-support reserve in modifying child support awards. Finally, it sets out the procedure to modify and equitably distribute child support among multiple children when the obligor’s income falls below the self-support reserve. The Court found that once multiple child support awards are set using the methodology set forth in Harte v. Hand, supra, it must determine whether any party falls below the self-support reserve. Should both custodial and non-custodial parent fall below the self-support reserve, no adjustments shall be made to the child support award. If the custodial parent is above the self-support reserve but the non-custodial parent falls below it, an adjustment must be made. The Court shall then order a modified amount between $5 and the “support amount at $170 combined net weekly income for the appropriate number of children,” found on the first column of the child support awards schedule of Appendix IX-F. Once appropriate self-support reserve modifications are made, the Court held that it should then equitably distribute multiple family obligations among the children proportionately based upon the income of the custodial parents. This case is the first of its kind in explaining the methodology in determining child support for individuals with multiple family obligations while taking into account the effect of the self-support reserve. It further describes an equitable method to distribute child support among children whose parents have multiple family Child Support obligations.

Reference: Case & Analysis, New Jersey Law Journal, 219 N.J.L.J. 41 (January 5, 2015)

Filed Under: Child Support; Family Law

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