What Did the 2017 NJ Child Support Law Change?
The February 2017 Termination of Child Support Law in New Jersey
New Jersey’s newest child support law, S-1046/A-2721, went into effect on February 1, 2017. This law was signed by Governor Chris Christie in January 2016 and allows for early termination of some New Jersey child support agreements. It is important for everyone paying child support, or receiving support for their child, to be aware of the changes brought about by this new law.
Termination of Obligation to Pay Child Support in NJ
The new New Jersey law states that under normal circumstances, child support and/or medical support ends when the child:
- Turns 19
- Gets married
- Enters the military
However, there are some circumstances where child support can continue until the age of 23, including if:
- The child is currently in high school
- The child is attending college, vocational or graduate school full time
- The child has a physical or mental disability that existed before they turned 19
- Both parties reach an agreement to continue support
- Continued support is granted by the Court
- Parents who want continued support for their child after they turn 19 can submit a Request for Continuation of Support, along with proof that the child needs the continued support by citing one of the above reasons. These requests must include a proposed end date that is before the child’s 23rd birthday.
- The Final Judgment of Divorce or child support order specifies a termination date other than the child’s 19th birthday, in which the specified termination date will be enforced
Does This Mean I Can Stop Paying Child Support?
You can stop making child support payments ONLY if you received an official Notice of Child Support Obligation Termination from the state of New Jersey. Otherwise, it’s important to continue making your normal payments. Also, you will still be responsible for paying any child support arrears that may have accrued prior to the child support termination.
Can Child Support Continue After the Child Turns 23?
No. Once the child turns 23, it is no longer considered “child support,” and therefore no longer enforceable by a Probation Child Support Enforcement Unit (PCSE) as before. The parent or child can petition the court to order the payment of some form of financial maintenance or support for a child that has reached the age of 23, for example to cover education or medical expenses, but this would be a separate arrangement unrelated to child support.
How to Request a Continuation of Child Support NJ
The new child support law has affected many parents. If you are among those that have been affected by these changes in NJ child support law, you may be able to extend child support through a “Request for Continuation of Support.” It is important to note that one of the following must be true if you wish your request to be successful:
- Your child is still enrolled in school or vocational school
- Your child is enrolled full-time in college
- Your child has suffered from a mental or physical disability that began before he or she turned 19
It is necessary to supply evidence of enrollment should you wish to request continuation of support for a child that is still in school. Transcripts, tuition bills, college acceptance letters are not acceptable evidence. You will have to request a letter written on the school’s letterehad where your child is enrolled. You also have the option to submit an “enrollment verification form.” The institution where your child is enrolled can often provide you with this form.
If you are seeking, or facing, a petition for continuation of child support in New Jersey, it is advisable that you contact an attorney. An experienced family law lawyer will be ensure that you follow all of the necessary procedures and help you to avoid any potential pitfalls as you move forward.
I Have a Problem with the 2017 NJ Child Support Law. What Should I Do?
If you object to termination or continuation of child support as a result of the new child support law, it is important to be proactive. Contact Katherine K. Wagner today to discuss your options for altering the child support terms.