New Jersey, like many states, has established guidelines to provide a standardized framework for determining child support awards with consistency and fairness. These guidelines take into account the parents’ incomes, the number of children involved and various other factors. However, they apply only when the parents’ combined net incomes fall within a certain range. If the income exceeds that range, other methods of calculation must be used. In high-net-worth cases, the child support determination focuses on addressing the children’s specific needs and lifestyles.
Courts recognize that children of high-income parents deserve to share in their parents’ prosperity and enjoy a standard of living consistent with it. The child support guidelines’ income range is $8,840 per year to $187,200 per year, and the maximum support payment is $3,600 per week. If household income exceeds the upper threshold and a higher award is sought, the spouses may submit evidence of any extra expenses required in caring for the child, as well as the family’s standard of living.
In high-net-worth cases, judges look to the factors set out in a New Jersey statute to determine an appropriate support award. Those factors are as follows:
The court can also consider any other factor or circumstance it deems relevant.
One significant aspect of high-net-worth cases is of the attention given to extracurricular activities and extraordinary expenses related to the children’s well-being and development. The parents may be required to contribute financially to these activities and costs. Some examples of these are:
Another extraordinary expense might be savings for college education, beyond those contributed to a tax-advantaged tuition plan (also known as a 529 plan).
Each high-net-worth child support case presents its own unique circumstances, which can lead to varying determinations. Courts have even allowed renovations to the primary custodial parent’s home as a shared cost. However, support payments must be intended to provide the child with an appropriate standard of living, not to improve either spouse’s lifestyle.