Effective February 1, 2017, New Jersey child support law will be significantly modified. N.J.S.A 2A:17-56.67, signed into law by Governor Chris Christie, aims to limit the duration of child support obligations, and automatically terminate child support at the age of 19. The law also clarifies the common practice of ending child support in the case of the death of the child, marriage, or the child entering military service.
Previously, the payor of child support would have to petition the courts in order to terminate a child support agreement, under the new law, the custodial parent will have to petition in order to continue receiving support for their child after the child reaches the age of 19.
While the statute does make termination of child support automatic, parents will still have the right to petition the courts to extend child support under certain conditions:
- If the child is still in high-school
- If the child is attending college or enrolled in post-secondary education full-time
- If the child suffers from disabilities
Critically however, child support may not exceed the age of 23 regardless of any other circumstances. Although child support may not extend beyond a child’s 23rd birthday, there is a subsection which allows for a child to apply for different forms of maintenance and reimbursement so long as that payment is not legally considered child support.
Perhaps most importantly of all, the statute indicates that it applies not only to judgements entered after the February 1 effective date, but also to existing child support agreements. If you are a payor of child support, or the custodial parent of a child receiving child support, this is a very important change to your existing agreement.
To learn more about how this statute may affect your existing child support agreement, or if you are undergoing or considering a divorce and wish to discuss your options with an experienced Bergen County family law attorney, the law offices of Townsend, Tomaio & Newmark is ready to help you. Contact us online or through our Hackensack offices at 201-397-1750 to schedule a cost-free consultation today.