What counts as income for child support calculations?

The fact that New Jersey has a calculation for child support may seem like it should make figuring the amount straightforward. However, if you and the other parent have multiple sources of income, it may be challenging to determine what numbers to use for each of you.

New Jersey Courts provide this guidance on what types of income you should and should not include.

Included income

The guidelines seek to include all the income from both parents that you may have used to support your child if you and the other parent were living in a single household, such as:

  • Job earnings, including tips and commissions, overtime pay, part-time pay, severance, bonuses, royalties and business operation earnings minus the operating expenses
  • Disability, workers’ compensation and unemployment benefits
  • Gambling winnings
  • Investment earnings and sale gains
  • Retirement payments
  • Alimony payments from current and past relationships

You can figure yearly sporadic income such as royalties, commissions and the like by averaging the amount you or the other parent received over the past 36 months. However, if either of you can show that the sporadic income will not continue to be available, the judge may leave it out of the calculation.

The court has the authority to consider other sources as countable income, as well, if the judge deems it appropriate and it is not on the excluded income list.

Excluded income

If you receive child support from another source for a child from a different relationship, you should not include that money in the calculation. Means-tested income, assets that do not produce income, financial assistance for education and income that the child earns are not part of the equation. Income earned by a member of the household who is not responsible for your child’s support, such as a step- or grandparent, also does not count.