If we are high income earners, will I owe child support?

On Behalf of | Feb 24, 2023 | Child Support |

Family law judges handle many topics during the divorce process to end a couple’s married life. However, the two most contentious issues that many people seek advice on are child support and child custody. In New Jersey, state law gives guidance on child support. Yet, you may still wonder whether both two high-income earning spouses will still owe child support.


In our state, child support guidelines are based on three premises. First, the child support duty is owed by both parents and continuous. Second, a child is entitled to child support from both parents as a percentage of both parents’ incomes. And, finally, a child should not have any ill economic effect from out-of-wedlock births that were no fault of their own.

Deviating from the guidelines

Family law judges are empowered by New Jersey law to deviate from the Child Support Guidelines, but they must find that the state guidelines are inappropriate and adjust the award in accordance with the needs of the children or the parents’ circumstances. However, the Hackensack, New Jersey, family law judge must specify in the guideline’s worksheet or in the support order itself the basis for the deviation.

Shared income model

New Jersey calculates child support based on a shared income model or bases on what the child would receive if the family remained intact and the parents’ incomes remained pooled. Each parent’s income is combined, and their contribution percentage represents their relative share of the household expenses, except for child support calculations, only those expenses that relate to the child. Generally, if you share custody equally, since you are both responsible for the child’s needs, the higher earning of the two parents will owe support to the other.

Child support final thoughts

Child support is calculated based on the Appendix IX-F of the New Jersey Child Support Guidelines. When there is one parent who has sole physical custody, the appendix is rather straightforward.

However, when custody is shared, the math becomes much more complicated as the chart in Appendix IX-D is used. You may also be considering mediation and you two can reach an agreement as long as it meets the requirements of New Jersey law.