Thanks to a new law that took effect on February 1st, the parameters for child support termination in New Jersey are more clearly defined. Now, child support payments made through the Probation Department are automatically terminated if a child is over 19 and no longer in school. At age 23, payments cease all together.
The law was approved by the state Senate in 2015 and signed into law by Governor Christie in January 2016. It now applies to the enforcement of all child support orders through the Probation Department. The first essential fact established is that the obligation for child and/or medical support will automatically end when a child reaches the age of 19.
Now, specific conditions have been established under which child support will be permitted to continue after the child turns 19. The custodial parent can submit a written request to the court seeking continuation of child support payments. A different age for termination can be proposed via court order or already was agreed upon in a settlement agreement. Acceptable reasons include that the children are still in high school or children enrolled full-time in post-secondary education. Another exception to automatic termination would be children who have disabilities that have been determined by a government agency.
There is also now a cap for child support whereas there was only a presumed one in the past. That age is still 23. Other types of financial assistance can still be pursued in court but it will not be child support. Of course, families with children who have 23rd birthdays this year will need to pay close attention.
If your child reached the age of 22 ¾ by February 1st, you should have received a Notice of Child Support Obligation Termination. Child support will end on May 1st, as the new law is phased in. Children younger than 22 ¾ but older than 22 ½ will see support end on August 1st. Again, termination is based on when the new law phases in and not the child’s 19th birthday. All other children between the ages of 18 ½ and 22 ½ will receive a Notice of Proposed Child Support Obligation Termination., containing information on how to request a continuation of child support as well as how the amount of child support may change.
Beyond August 1st, all eyes are on the dependent’s 19th birthday. If a different date was determined in your divorce judgment, you may still receive a termination notice but you will still be able to send in a copy of your Judgment of Divorce or support order. Otherwise, expect that Notice of Proposed Child Support Obligation Termination 180 days before your son or daughter’s 19th birthday. If you don’t respond, another will arrive 90 days out. No response after that will simply mean support ends and you will receive an updated order stating as much.
Make sure that the Probation Department has your current mailing address, cell phone number and email address. If your ex still owes child support, have no fear. He or she will still be responsible and the order for support is still enforceable. If you have questions about termination of child support, call for an appointment today.