Valid Reasons to Stop Paying NJ Child Support
In New Jersey, parents have both rights and obligations regarding their children. Depending on the custody arrangement, parents have the right to make important decisions about their child’s education, medical issues, religious upbringing, etc. Parents are also responsible for taking care of their children, including providing medical care and coverage financial support. If the parents are divorced or otherwise separated, the noncustodial parent likely has an obligation to pay child support.
At what age does child support end? Are there any grounds to end child support payments before the child reaches that age? To learn about the circumstances under which child support obligations can be terminated, continue reading. For help with other child custody or family law issues, call a knowledgeable New Jersey child support and support modification attorney.
The General Rule: Child Support Until Age 19
Pursuant to New Jersey law, as modified by the Child Support Obligation Termination Law that went into effect in February 2017, parents are typically required to continue paying child support until their child reaches age 19. At age 19, the child is considered an adult, no longer dependent, and thus no longer in need of child support.
There are circumstances under which a parent could be obliged to continue paying after age 19. If the child is still in school (high school or postsecondary education such as college or vocational school), if the child is disabled, or if the parties have reached another agreement, support obligations may continue. The recipient of child support has the obligation to prove support should continue beyond the child’s 19th birthday.
Legal Justifications to Stop Child Support
Most of the time, child support obligations end because of the child’s age. There are, however, certain other circumstances under which a parent with a support obligation can cease paying.
New Jersey law permits the termination of a child support obligation for reasons including:
- The child gets married
- The child joins the armed forces
- The child graduates high school but does not pursue a college degree or other postsecondary education
- The child moves out of both parents’ homes
- The child obtains a full-time job
- The child finishes college and does not pursue graduate school
- The child becomes legally emancipated
Child support obligations will also be terminated if a parent’s parental rights are terminated by the state, or the parent voluntarily gives up parental rights (e.g., for a stepparent adoption). Once a parent’s rights toward the child are terminated, the legal parent-child relationship ceases to exist, along with financial obligations.
Parents may also rely on a substantial change in life circumstances to modify child support obligations. If the paying parent loses their job, for example, they may petition the court to reduce their support obligation.
Upon termination of the obligation for child support, the parent will also no longer be obligated to pay for the child’s medical support or medical coverage. The custodial parent can seek to enforce medical support or coverage until the child’s 23rd birthday, and even if not court-ordered, either parent can continue to provide medical coverage for their children through their insurance until the child turns 26.
Call for Considered Legal Advice and Skillful Representation for Your New Jersey Child Support Modification and Termination Matters
If you have questions about child support or modification of support obligations, or if you are dealing with divorce, alimony, or other family law matters in New Jersey, contact the Law Office of John B. D’Alessandro in Union to discuss your concerns. Our seasoned and successful family law attorney is here to advise and represent you on all of your New Jersey family law issues.