What percentage of child support is suppose to cover shelter expenses for the child? How is it determined in an above-the-guidelines case?
If you and your spouse have a combined income that goes beyond the guidelines, then the court must consider the published child support factors which appear in the state statute.
The factors to be considered are:
(1) Needs of the child;
(2) Standard of living and economic circumstances of each parent;
(3) All sources of income and assets of each parent;
(4) Earning ability of each parent, including educational background, training, employment skills, work experience, custodial responsibility for children including the cost of providing child care and the length of time and cost of each parent to obtain training or experience for appropriate employment;
(5) Need and capacity of the child for education, including higher education;
(6) Age and health of the child and each parent;
(7) Income, assets and earning ability of the child;
(8) Responsibility of the parents for the court-ordered support of others;
(9) Reasonable debts and liabilities of each child and parent; and
(10) Any other factors the court may deem relevant.
Notice that #10 on the list is "any other factors the court may deem relevant." This leaves the door open for you to address other pertinent considerations in your particular case.
To make an argument using the factors, you'll need to carefully develop evidence under as many of the factors as you can. Usually, it is best to retain the services of an attorney to present the proper motion.
There is no absolute percentage of child support to cover shelter expenses (although such expenses were clearly part of the formula that the economists originally used when they set the support amounts). Shelter expenses are blended with the other kinds of child-rearing costs, and are inter-dependent on a wide variety of considerations such as the number of children, the age of the children, the provision of health insurance, the question of alimony -- and other factors that are built into the final formula for support. It is all determined using a software program these days.
I wrote the book entitled "The Portable New Jersey Child Support Handbook" as well as the book entitled the "Interstate Child Support Handbook." This is an area of great interest to me, and I'd be happy to help you with your case. Please feel free to call at any time.
Mark S. Guralnick, Esq.