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What if I just cannot afford to pay my New Jersey Child Support?

Posted by Richard DeMichele | Apr 15, 2021 | 0 Comments

Understanding New Jersey Child Support; "What is the Self-Support Reserve?"

As South Jersey divorce attorneys, we often get asked "What happens if paying my child support would put me in the poor house?"  The New Jersey Child Support Guidelines actually provide for such a circumstance.  The reality is that so very few people actually qualify for relief due to poverty.

The NJ  Child Support Guidelines use a Self-Support Reserve.  This is a guideline test to determine if paying child support would impoverish the person paying child support.    The self-support reserve is a factor in calculating a child support award only when one or both of the parents have income at or near the poverty level.  If a child support payer qualifies, their guideline child support obligation can be reduced or in certain circumstances eliminated.  

To qualify for a self-support reserve reduction the child support payor must make less than 105% of the U.S. poverty guideline for one person.  For 2021 the US poverty guidelines that apply in New Jersey are as follows:

1 $12,880
2 $17,420
3 $21,960
4 $26,500
5 $31,040
6 $35,580
7 $40,120
8 $44,660

The reason for the self-support reserve reduction is to ensure that the obligor has sufficient income to maintain a basic subsistence level and the incentive to work so that child support can be paid.  A child support award will be reduced or eliminated  only if payment of the child support award would reduce the obligor's net income below the reserve and the custodial parent's (or the Parent of the Primary Residence) net income minus the custodial parent's share of the child support award is greater than 105% of the poverty guideline.  Both conditions must exist if the child support payor is to receive a reduction in his or her child support.

As of January 15, 2021, the self support reserve for child support payors in New Jersey is $260 per week (this amount is 105% of the poverty guideline for one person).

Do you need assistance navigating child support in New Jersey? Experienced assistance is a quick phone call or email away.  Our firm deals with child support issues on a regular basis. If you have any questions regarding child support in New Jersey), please contact us online today or call (856) 546-1350 for a confidential consultation with one of our skilled family court lawyers. Don't go through this alone! –

About the Author

Richard DeMichele

Richard A. DeMichele, Jr. is a seasoned litigator, devoting a substantial part of his practice to family law and personal injury matters.


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