Robert A. Bonavito, CPA PC

Divorce Series Part 8: How to Calculate Child Support

My name's Robert Bonavito, New Jersey forensic accountant. This video is part of a series of videos where I discuss forensic accounting topics for educational purposes only. If this was a litigated matter, I would take a different approach at different conclusions based on different facts and circumstances.

Hi, everybody. Welcome to our discussion on matrimonial issues. This is number eight of, I think, nine we're doing. This is child support, how to calculate it, because everybody realizes that alimony's more complicated to calculate because it's based on factors. But child support is a little bit easier in most cases because, unlike alimony, child support is calculated pursuant to guidelines. And a lot of people who are in this area have never looked at the guidelines. So, we're going to actually take a look at them. You can see here, this know, the state publishes this. It's a schedule of child support awards. And it's basically the net weekly income combined. You just find that, and the number of children, right? So if we had $820 combined and six children, the weekly child support payment would be $376, right? Now, this schedule, you're going to have to trust me, it goes up to $33,600. And, you know people do earn more than that, right? And what do you do if that happens? I mean, this schedule's good up to that level, pretty easy to calculate. But, what do you do, you know, if you don't?

Well, this here too, this is another schedule that they have. Let's take a look at this real quick. Because this is if you have two people working, right, how do you decide who pays what? If you're getting divorced, you may want to check your attorney's calculations because if you don't... But, this is pretty simple stuff. I mean, you take the income of the custodial parent, non-custodial parent, and you calculate it based on the number of days they have the children or child, right? Then you take the alimony that you got off the schedule, in this case it was $319, and you go through the calculation. And you say okay, the non-custodial parent is gonna pay $156, but the total child support is $319. So, this is a basic schedule. If you're getting divorced take a look at it. Go through it. Make sure your numbers are correct. If you're a forensic accountant, again do the same thing.

So let's see what else. Now, what do we do if it's over $3,600? Well, guess what? We will revert back to alimony-type criteria. So, what are the criteria? So, the court considers we're not limited to these following factors, right? Needs of the child, obviously, standard living and economic circumstances, all sources of income and assets of each parent, earnings ability of each parent, needs and capacity of the child's education, including higher education, age and health, other factors that may be relevant. And that's basically it.

So child support, it can be complicated. But, the main thing I want you to take away from this is it's based on a schedule. Check the numbers on the schedule. If it's a wealthier household and more net income, well then it will get more complicated and you need to, you know, understand these standards we went through. So, listen. If you guys have any questions just leave them below in my YouTube channel. I will get back to you or one of my analysts will get back to you if you have any questions. Thanks for listening.

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