Edward R. Weinstein, Esq.Edward R. Weinstein, Esq.

Pendente Lite Child Support Guidelines in New Jersey

Pendente lite is Latin for pending the litigation or awaiting the litigation, so in a divorce proceeding. Prior to having a final order or final agreement called the marital settlement agreement where it is established for the long term what the child support order is going to be, the parties or the court can come to a determination about what the noncustodial parent is going to pay. For more information on the pendente lite child support guidelines in New Jersey, contact a qualified criminal attorney.

Understanding the Role of Pendente Lite in the Child Support Agreements

Child support during the pendente lite period or the pendente lite period is a way to maintain the status quo that was previously established during the term of the relationship or during the course of the marriage.   

The premise, behind pendente lite child support guidelines in New Jersey and how it is calculated is a way to ensure that the children of the relationship are not the economic victims of the parents' decision to separate.

It is allowing the court to protect the children because the standard is in the best interest of the child, so even though there is not a final determination yet, the support during the pendente lite period will allow the children to be cared for.

How is a Presumptive Amount of Child Support Determined?

The statewide formula is the child support guidelines and those guidelines take into account the average cost to raise a child, it is a New Jersey specific guideline amount.

New Jersey uses a statewide formula to determine a presumptive amount of spousal support. There is no local determination. It does not depend on the county or whether a person is from the northern part of the state or the southern part of the state, it is all averaged and child support is different than determining a presumptive amount of spousal support because alimony is more negotiable because the adults are the recipients of that money. Child support is the right of the child and the court is looking to ensure that the child is being protected in this situation.

What is the Role of Alimony in Pendente Lite Child Support Guidelines?

The alimony paid by one spouse and the alimony received by other spouse is actually included in pendente lite child support guidelines in New Jersey. There is a box to enter in that number because alimony is considered part of the person's gross income if they are receiving it and it is deducted from their gross income if they are paying it. Alimony is taxable to the recipient party and deductible to the paying party.

Can Divorce Circuit Courts Bypass the Guidelines?

Circuit courts are federal courts and they do not deal with family law at all, instead the superior court deals with family court and then it goes on to the appellate and the Supreme Court if there are issues on a statewide level. From a federal level, family law is never considered, but guidelines are binding on the statewide courts because it is a statewide formula for the state.

Impact of Ignoring Statewide Guidelines

In response to the superior court ignoring pendente lite child support guidelines in New Jersey, there has to be good cause shown. If the court determines for good cause that the guideline should be deviated from, there has to be a showing that it is not fair or equitable for the guidelines to be applied in the case.

It is a fact-by-fact situation and the point of having the guidelines is so in all the other cases, so 99 percent of them, everyone is treated fairly and everyone is treated the same and that it is not just an arbitrary number depending on the judge that a person gets.

Likelihood of Prolonged or Permanent Pendente Lite

The parties agree that the pendente lite child support guideline is there, they can incorporate that amount into their marital settlement agreement, and child support is never made permanent. There is always the possibility that changed circumstances will occur in the future that warrant a modification of child support for either the party paying or the party receiving the money.