Understanding Child Support Termination
As discussed in a prior posting, on January 19, 2016, significant revisions were made to the law concerning the termination of child support. These changes take effect on February 1, 2017. This posting will summarize what you need to know about these changes.
Question: Is there now a specific age when a child is deemed to be emancipated? Answer: The statutory changes do not touch upon a determination of whether or not a child is emancipated. The legislation relates only to the obligation to pay child support. Issues concerning emancipation are still under the purview of the court.
Question: At what point does child support terminate regardless of age? Answer: By operation of law, child support shall terminate when a child of any age marries, dies, or enters the military.
Question: What is this I hear about age 19? Answer: By way of general rule, the obligation to pay child support will automatically stop when the child turns 19. However, there are four exceptions to this general rule. First, if there is a prior court order specifying another age (but this age cannot extend past 23). Second, if the child is in out-of-home placement through DCP&P. Third, if the child support order was entered outside of New Jersey. Fourth, if the custodial parent submits a Request for Continuation of Support Form with documentation.
Question: What is a Request for Continuation of Support Form? Answer: In the event that a child has reached age 19 but there are circumstances in place that warrant continued child support then the custodial parent can seek to continue child support. These situations include if a child is a high school student, a full-time post-secondary student, is disabled, or for other exceptional circumstances.
Question: What is this I hear about age 23? Answer: child support may not continue beyond age 23 in any case. In addition, all court-ordered obligations to pay or provide medical coverage also end when child support ends.
Question: Does this mean that there will be no further obligation beyond age 23? Answer: Not quite. The statute provides that “child support” can not continue beyond age 23. However, the right still exists for a parent or child to seek “financial maintenance” beyond age 23. This could include contributions toward college or medical expenses.
Question: How is this all going to work? Answer: The Probation Department will send a notice to the parties 180 days prior to the child’s 19th birthday. If the custodial parent does not respond then a second notice will be sent 90 days prior to the child’s 19th birthday. The custodial parent will need to submit a form explaining why one of the exceptions is applicable. The non-custodial parent can oppose the continuation of child support. An administrative decision will be made as to whether or not child support will continue. Either party may file a motion if they disagree with the ultimate decision.
Question: What happens if child support is terminated but there are arrears on the account? Answer: Arrears will remain due and enforceable. If there are arrears when the child support order terminates then the same level of support will continue to be collected and applied to arrears until paid in full.
Question: What if I am receiving child support for more than one child? Answer: If the child support order is allocated then the amount will be automatically adjusted to reflect the remaining child(ren) on the order. If the child support order is unallocated then the amount stays the same for the remaining child(ren) unless a successful motion for modification is made to the court.
Question: What if the child support is paid directly between the parties and not through the Probation Department. Answer: There will be no notices given in cases that are not handled by Probation. A motion to the court will be necessary to apply the statutory provisions.
All of the attorneys at Domers & Bonamassa are well versed and have years of experience addressing family law issues, no matter how complicated. Contact us today at (856) 596-2888 for a private consultation. We appear in the following counties: Burlington, Camden, Gloucester, Cumberland, Salem, Mercer, Ocean, Atlantic and Cape May. Our practice areas include: divorce, custody, parenting time, child support, alimony, domestic violence, college expenses, equitable distribution, name changes, step parent adoptions, paternity issues, child abuse and neglect, prenuptial agreements, mediation and arbitration.
This posting is provided by Domers & Bonamassa, P.C. for their clients, advisors and other interested persons. Since technical information is presented in a generalized fashion, the communication is not meant to replace the need for competent professional advice and the reader should understand that the information contained in or made available through this communication is not intended to be a substitute for the services of trained professionals. As such, the reader should evaluate and bear all risks associated with the use of any comments, including any reliance on accuracy, completeness, or usefulness of such content.