Changes To New Jersey Child Support Laws

The term “child support” gives the general implication that the support is intended for adolescents up until they reach the age of emancipation. However, up until recent years, this was not the case in New Jersey. Prior to recent legislation, many parents would continue to provide child support long after the child reached the age of 18, or would terminate the payments themselves without obtaining a court order. The New Jersey legislature recognized the issue and in 2016 passed a legislation that allows for the termination of child support when the child turns 19 years old. On February 1, 2017, the law went into effect in New Jersey. The law not only applies to future child support orders but existing orders as well.

Under the law, the age of child support emancipation in New Jersey change from 18 to 19 years old. Child support may be extended beyond the age of 19 years old, up to the age of 23, if a child has not yet completed high school, is currently enrolled full-time in a higher education institution, or has a permanent disability. However, individuals may also establish a custody agreement that sets forth its own terms and conditions regarding child support cut off dates.

Prior to the legislation, New Jersey allowed for child support to continue until the child entered marriage, entered the armed forces, graduated from high school without pursuing a post-secondary education, or completion of a post-secondary school. In any of these circumstances, if the parent wished to terminate their child support requirements they would need to get consent from the custodial parent or file an application with the court.

The New Jersey Probation Division will send notifications to families of children nearing the age of 23 that state that child support payments will cease as of a specific date. Similar to this, if a family was collecting child support for an individual who is either over the age of 19 years old, but younger than 22 years old, they will received a letter indicating whether they wish to request a modification or extension of support. For those who have a child that will turn 19 years old after August 1, 2017, they should have received a notice of child support termination six months prior to the child turning 19 years old.

Each notification requires the receiver to acknowledge receipt and provides a copy to the proper court of law. If acknowledgment is not received, the court will issue another letter. Regardless if the court received acknowledgment from the receiver, the court will terminate support on the child’s 19th birthday and both parents will receive a letter confirming termination.

Those that have received a notice of termination for child support payments reserve the right to file a motion for a continuation. The individual must provide an alternative end date as well as:

  • Documentation showing a child is still in high school
  • Documentation that a child is a full-time student in a higher education institution
  • Medical records proving that a child has a mental disability or physical impairment, and that such disability existed prior to being 19 years old

If you would like information regarding the updated New Jersey child support laws, contact an experienced family law attorney. The attorneys at the Law Offices of Hunziker, Jones, & Sweeney, P.A. have experience assisting New Jersey residents with all aspects of family law, including child support and custody matters. We handle each legal matter with diligence and compassion. For more information or to schedule a consultation, call our New Jersey family law firm at (973) 256-0456.

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