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When Does Child Support End in New Jersey?

If you have been ordered to pay child support, you may be wondering when your child support obligations end. Below, we will cover motions for continued child support and when child support payments end in New Jersey.

When Does Child Support Stop? How Long Does Child Support Last?

Clients often ask “will child support stop automatically at 18” or simply assume that their child support payments will end when their child turns 18 years old. However, under New Jersey law, child support generally continues until the child turns 19 years old. At that point, the child is typically considered emancipated and the duty to pay child support ends. 


Child support may end earlier if, prior to reaching the age of 19, the child marries, dies, or enters the military service. 


Under these circumstances, child support will typically terminate by operation of law, meaning that the obligation to pay child support can end automatically without a court order.

In certain cases, child support can extend past the age of 19 up until the age of 23 years old. Under the child support statute, parents generally do not owe a duty of support to their child past the child’s twenty-third birthday. 


First, child support can continue past the age of 19 if a prior Court Order specifies another date at which child support will terminate – provided that date does not extend past the child’s 23rd birthday. 


For example, as part of a Marital Settlement Agreement, the parties may decide that financial support for the children born of the marriage will continue to age 21. In that case, the Court will generally honor the parties’ agreement as incorporated into their Final Judgment of Divorce and will not automatically terminate child support orders when the child turns 19 years old. 


Child support may also be extended if the child is in an out-of-home foster care placement through New Jersey’s Department of Child Protection and Permanency (DCPP).

Can Child Support in New Jersey Go Past The Age of 19?

Child support can persist through college

Filing a Motion to Extend Child Support

Your attorney can file motions to extend child support

Furthermore, child support can extend past the New Jersey child’s 19th birthday if the custodial parent files a motion to continue financial support. Motions to continue child support may be warranted in the following circumstances:


  1. The child is still enrolled in high school or another secondary educational program


  1. The child is attending college, community college, or another post-secondary educational program on a full-time basis as determined by the school’s requirements for full-time study


  1. When a federal or state government agency determines that the child has a physical disability or a mental disability that existed before the child turned 19 years old and that requires continued financial support


  1. When other exceptional circumstances exist that would warrant the Court’s approving the custodial parent’s request to extend support

Child Support for Children with Disabilities

As stated above, a Court can order continued support for children who suffer severe mental or physical incapacities that cause them to become financially dependent on one parent. In that circumstance, the Court can specify an alternative date for child support termination in its support Order. 


Under the law, severe physical or mental incapacity does not include a child’s dependence on or addiction to alcohol or controlled substances.


In determining what amount of child support to award for children with disabilities, the Court considers a number of statutory factors. For example, among other child support factors, the Court will consider the disabled child’s needs; the income, assets, and earning capacities of each parent; and the child’s eligibility for services and public benefits for people with disabilities, such as Social Security Disability Insurance payments. 


As stated above, child support in New Jersey generally terminates at age 23. However, the child support statute does not preclude the parents of disabled children from applying for other forms of financial support and maintenance past the child’s 23rd birthday. In other words, if a disabled child cannot support themselves, New Jersey parents may still be required to provide financial assistance to the child, even if the child is over 23 years old. 


In short, if a child is not emancipated due to their disability – meaning they are reliant on one parent for financial help and cannot live independently – the Court may impose a continued duty to financially support that child. 


Schedule a Free Consultation with a South Jersey Child Support Attorney


When child support ends can be a complicated legal issue. Seeking the advice of family law attorneys near you can be invaluable when it comes to navigating petitions for child support and requests to end or extend support.  

If you have questions about your child support order, we invite you to contact Ormond Law for a free consultation with our dedicated family law attorney today.

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