When does child support stop or end in the state of New Jersey?
In the state of New Jersey, child support is paid or garnered until the child reaches the age of 19 years old. If a child becomes emancipated, then child support can end earlier. Emancipation is the process of when the child no longer lives with the parents and is self-sufficient. Emancipation can happen if a child is under 19 and or:
- Joins the military
- Completes four years of college
- Is at least 18 years old and is working full time to support themselves. Summer, vacation, or seasonal jobs do not count as self-supporting jobs.
- If a child leaves the home and or ends their relationship with the parents unless the reason has to do with being neglected, abused, or other problems.
On February 1, 2017, the termination of child support law went into effect. This law was established so that at 19 is the age when a child support and or medical support obligation ends. The law allows for child and or medical aid to continue up to age 23 if the dependent is still in high school or is attending full-time postsecondary education or is disabled; if the parties reached a separate agreement; or, if granted by the court. The law was later amended to allow support to continue past the age of 23 if the court finds that the child has a severe physical or mental incapacity that causes the child to be financially dependent upon a parent. This provision went into effect on December 1, 2020.
While the court cannot order a parent to pay child support past 19 years of age, it is common for parents to agree to extend support until 22 if the child is still a full-time college student reaching graduation. While the amount of child support is set by the court, the amount of the payments can change over time. New Jersey State law allows for modifications to be made every three years to make changes in income and circumstances into account. Also, a modification can be requested at any time when there is a change of 15% or more in a parent’s income. If a parent, for example, gets a new job or a raise with a significant increase in salary, the custodial parent does not have to wait until the three-year mark to ask for a modification. On the other hand, especially this year with Covid, where so many families have lost their jobs or a significant portion of their income, they do not have to struggle until that four-year window to ask for a modification to child support payments. If a child continues their education past high school, a parent can be ordered to pay for a portion of college expenses. Often this decision of whether a child is going to college is made several years before children graduate from high school. Children will then get ready for college by attending classes to prepare for college exams or even take pre-college classes for credit. A court can then order a parent to contribute to the educational expenses of a child.
However, the amount is not based on the actual cost of college. For most general families, if a child is then accepted to an out-of-state school with very high tuition, the amount required would be unreasonable for a parent to be expected to pay subject to the income of the parents. To help lower or middle-class families, Child support or the amount a parent must contribute to the care of a child could change several times due to changes in circumstances or the child’s needs. While it is common for divorced parents to agree on the amount paid and even allow for modifications without court intervention, it is often the case where parents do not agree and require an attorney’s assistance to negotiate the amount to be paid or represent their interests in the family court system. Contact us by phone for an initial consultation. Call Krompier Law Firm at (732)431-9188 for representation in Monmouth County, Mercer County, Middlesex County, Ocean County, or anywhere else in the state of New Jersey.