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New Law Terminates Child Support at Age 19

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Child SupportThere is now more certainty with regard to the end date of a parent’s child support obligation in the State of New Jersey. Effective February 1, 2017, a new law allows child support and/or medical support obligations in New Jersey to automatically terminate when a child reaches age 19 and/or marries, dies, or enters the military service.

This new legislation, which Governor Chris Christie signed into law on January 19, 2016, will apply to all child support orders in New Jersey. As a result, child support obligations will terminate without order by the court when a child reaches 19 years of age unless:

  1. A court order specifies another age for the termination of the obligation;
  2. The child’s parents consent to (and the court approves of) the continuation of support until another specified date;
  3. The court extends the child support obligation based on a parent’s application filed prior to the child reaching age 19;
  4. The child receiving support is in an out-of-home placement through the Division of Child Protection and Permanency in the Department of Children and Families.

In some cases, child support may remain in effect until the child reaches age 23. A parent may petition the court to continue support if:

  1. The child is enrolled in high school or another secondary educational program;
  2. The child is enrolled full-time in college or another post-secondary program;
  3. The child has a physical or mental disability prior to reaching age 19 and requires continued support;
  4. The court approves the continuation under other exceptional circumstances.

To seek child support continuation for a child beyond age 19, a parent must submit a written request with appropriate documentation and a projected future termination date if appropriate. If the court approves the request, it will grant an order for the continuation of the child support obligation until the agreed upon date.

The first Notices of Proposed Child Support Obligation Termination and Notices of Child Support Obligation will be mailed to parents when the law takes effect on February 1, 2017. These notices will provide information about modifying child support obligations and requesting a continuation of child support in New Jersey.

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