Duration of Child Support Payments in New Jersey

The duration of child support payments in New Jersey is often subject to change and can be altered by a court, by the agreement of both parties, or by a child’s emancipation. The laws surrounding these changes are not always intuitive, and it may be unclear how long your child support payments should last.

It could be beneficial to enlist the help of a child support lawyer who could help you effectively request or end child support payments.

Factors to Request Child Support

Child support is the right of the child and is awarded to the custodial parent. Even if the parties do not establish child support early on, they can always come back and ask for an award.

For example, if the parties get divorced when their child is an infant, but they don’t initially establish child support, they can request it later. If the custody arrangement changes, the child support payments may also change. Child support is always subject to modification as children grow, and a local attorney with experience in this area could help you apply these changes.

Circumstances to Extend Child Support

Child support is always subject to a change of circumstance. For example, if the party paying child support loses their job, the payments could be modified or stopped for a period of time.

The children of a person paying child support eventually become emancipated in most cases, which is when the payments are usually terminated. Payments could be an ongoing obligation if a child could not be emancipated because of mental or physical illness, and it is known that that child will be in the care of the parents through adulthood.

Cases of that nature often involve Social Security payments from the state and special needs trusts. One of the parents may also have guardianship of that child. Child support is not be guaranteed for life, but there are certain exceptions such as this where child support can extend far beyond emancipation.

Circumstances to End Court-Ordered Child Support

In New Jersey, a court would order the termination of child support payments if the child is emancipated. This usually occurs when the child reaches the age of 18 unless they pursue full-time post-secondary education.

If the child chooses to go to college and they live at home, prior support guidelines will continue. However, if they attend college and do not live at home, the amount would be adjusted.

If the child turns 18, does not go to college, and instead enrolls in the military, that would qualify as an emancipation event and the child support would end. If a child gets married, then the child support would also end.

If the paying parent dies, there may be a life insurance plan in place which would account for child support. If there was no life insurance, and there was supposed to have been a policy, then the custodial parent can go after the parent’s estate. The child support would then end with the Family Court, and the custodial parent would have to go through the probate court to receive the payment.

A New Jersey Lawyer Could Explain the Duration of Child Support Payments in Your Case

If you have questions about the duration of your child support payments, you may benefit from the advice of a New Jersey legal advocate. A dedicated attorney could allow you to determine the length of your payments based on the specific circumstances of your case. Call today to schedule a confidential consultation.

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