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Effect of alimony on child support

On Behalf of | May 19, 2022 | Family Law

In New Jersey, both parents are expected to financially contribute to their children’s upbringing. Child support can be ordered when parents separate or divorce to ensure that the children will continue to enjoy a similar level of comfort as what they enjoyed before the divorce or what they would if their unmarried parents had remained together. In the context of divorce, alimony might also be ordered when there is a disparity in the incomes and assets of the divorcing couple. Here is how an award of alimony might affect the amount of child support that is ordered.

How child support is calculated

Under New Jersey law, child support is calculated according to the state’s child support guidelines. These guidelines contemplate the combined incomes of the parents instead of the costs of meeting a child’s basic needs. This means that lower-earning couples can expect lower child support awards while those who have a higher combined income can expect to pay more. The incomes of each parent will be adjusted to reflect any prior child support or alimony orders a parent has to pay as well as any alimony that might be ordered in the current case. For example, if a parent earns $100,000 per year and is ordered to pay the other spouse $20,000 per year in alimony, that parent’s adjusted income for child support purposes will be $80,000. The child custody orders will also have an impact on the amount of child support a parent might be ordered to pay.

Alimony factors and types

The New Jersey law on alimony and maintenance sets out several factors for courts to consider when determining whether an alimony award is appropriate and its duration. Several different types of alimony can be awarded, including the following:

  • Pendente lite alimony – Alimony awarded temporarily while a divorce is pending
  • Limited duration alimony – Alimony awarded for a specific duration
  • Open duration alimony – Alimony awarded without a specified termination date but not commonly awarded
  • Reimbursement alimony – Alimony awarded to reimburse a spouse for the financial contributions he or she made to the other spouse’s career advancement or education
  • Rehabilitative alimony – Alimony awarded to rehabilitate a spouse to facilitate his or her re-entry into the workforce

All divorcing parents can expect a child support order from the court. However, alimony orders are not automatic and may or may not be granted. Understanding the factors courts consider and the various types of alimony might help you to determine whether alimony might be at issue in your case. The Weir Law Firm, LLC has extensive experience with family law matters and divorce litigation provides an individualized approach to resolving your family law dispute inside or outside of the courtroom.