If you have a kid in the state of New Jersey and you are responsible for child support payments, you may be wondering when your obligation to keep making those payments ends. The law requires you to continue supporting your child until they reach the age of 19 since this is considered the “majority” age in this state and the point at which they can make their own legal decisions. However, there are a few factors that can affect how long your commitment will actually last, so if you are unsure of your responsibilities you may want to consult our child support lawyers in Bergen County, NJ.
What Are the Exceptions to Child Support Rules?
Every family is dealing with a different set of circumstances, so there are actually a few exceptions to this general rule. A child support agreement can sometimes end before a child reaches the age of majority. An agreement to provide support can also be extended in situations where a child is 19 or older but not considered to be financially independent yet.
These are a few examples of situations that can affect a child support agreement:
Emancipation: A child can petition to be emancipated, making them independent from their parents and ending the requirement for child support. A child can also become emancipated if they join the military or get married. In both cases, they are no longer seen as dependent on their parents.
Enrollment in college or vocational school: If your child enrolls full-time in a college, vocational school, or another educational program, then you will continue paying child support even after they have reached the age of 19.
Disability of the child: A child with a disability will need support past the age of majority. Some form of agreement with both parents supporting the child will have to be worked out.
An agreement by both parents: Parents can simply make an agreement that the child support arrangement will continue after the child reaches the age of 19, even if there are no other outside circumstances like a disability or the child’s desire to attend school full-time.
Can I Renegotiate My Child Support Agreement?
If you think that circumstances have changed enough to warrant a change in your child support arrangement, you may be able to renegotiate it. There is one important thing to remember if you are the parent who is making support payments though. Do not simply stop paying.
You should keep paying even if you think that your obligation should have ended. Even if a court later decides that the child is no longer legally dependent on you, you could be on the hook for back payments if you just decided that your commitment to pay was over.
Contact a New Jersey Family Law Attorney
Whether you are confused about the law, need help with a child support arrangement, or require assistance with a noncustodial parent who will not make their support payments, a family law attorney from Townsend, Tomaio & Newmark can help. Contact us to learn more about your rights and legal options.