Changes to New Jersey Child Support Laws in 2018

Changes to New Jersey Child Support Laws in 2018The New Jersey signed by Governor Christie, N.J.S.A. 2A:17-56.67, made significant changes to the law related to the duration and termination of child support obligations. Some may feel that this new law makes divorce as well as post-divorce modifications far more complicated. However, the law was passed with the hope of bringing child support payments more in line with the actual needs of children and young adults who depend on them.

The family law attorneys of Townsend, Tomaio & Newmark, have extensive experience with child support modifications in New Jersey and have aided many clients to improve their financial situations in communities across Bergen County including Hackensack, Paramus, Ridgewood, Teaneck, and Fort Lee. Our lawyers are experienced and well equipped to help you modify a child support judgment in a compassionate, knowledgeable, and effective manner. Get in touch with our legal team today in a free and confidential consultation regarding your unique needs and concerns. Contact us online, or through our Hackensack, New Jersey office at (201) 397-1750.

Effects of 2018 Law on Child Support in Bergen County

Section (a) of the new statute provides that unless a court order or judgment states otherwise, child support terminates by  “operation of law” when the child either: (1) dies, (2) marries, (3) enters military service or (4) reaches 19 years of age. Traditionally emancipation of a dependent child occurred upon: death, marriage, military service or presumably at the age of 18. Moreover, previous to the new law emancipation was not automatic, and the occurrence of an emancipation event required a court order.

Under the new law, the supported spouse is obligated to file a request to continue support beyond the child’s 19th birthday under circumstances where a judgment or court order does not specifically state that emancipation is deferred beyond the child’s 19th birthday. This application would not be a motion but a form to be created by the Administrative Offices of the Court.  If the request to defer emancipation of the child is granted by a family court judge, the payor party has the right to file an application with the court to oppose the extension of child support beyond the child’s 19th birthday.  It is important to note that the request to defer emancipation must be based on the following:

  1. The child is disabled
  2. The child is still in high school or enrolled in some other secondary education
  3. The child is in post-secondary school full time in the last five calendar months

The statute doesn’t have an omnibus “other equitable reasons” clause so unless one of the exceptions listed above exists, an administrative request to extend child support should not be permitted by the court.

Extending Child Support for Young Adults Over 19

Another major change brought on by the new child support law is found in subsection (a)(2) of the statute, which states that no judgment or order can extend child support beyond the age of 23.  However, according to section (e)(1), a child aged 23 or older may seek other forms of financial maintenance or reimbursement from a parent legally obligated to pay child support as long as the payment is not child support.

It is very important to note that the statute applies not only to orders and judgments entered after its February 1, 2017, effective date but also to all existing child support orders.  Thus if you have a child who is older than 18 and isn’t yet emancipated you may be able to receive a modification that will allow that child to receive further child support.

Contact Our Paramus Child Support Modification Attorneys Today

Over the years The Law Office of Townsend, Tomaio & Newmark, has gained extensive experience helping parents to draft, sign, modify, and enforce fair and accurate child support agreements of all kinds in towns across Bergen County, including Ridgewood, Paramus, Hackensack, Teaneck, and Fort Lee. Because we practice divorce and family law exclusively, our firm can focus on providing each of our clients with the knowledgeable, effective, and attentive legal counsel that they need and deserve.

To speak with our legal team today in a free and confidential consultation regarding your divorce, your child support agreement, or any kind of child support modification issue, please contact us online, or through our Hackensack, NJ office at (201) 397-1750.