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Age of child when support ends in New Jersey

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  • Age of child when support ends in New Jersey

    Age of child when child support ends in New Jersey

  • #2

    When does child support terminate?
    A child support order will terminate once the child becomes emancipated. Emancipation basically means that the child can take care of themselves. Because self-reliance can occur at any age and under any given set of facts, there is no set age when a child will be determined to be emancipated. Many people erroneously believe that once the child turns 18 then their child support ends. This is not the case in New Jersey. The State of New Jersey has some of the strictest child support laws in the United States.
    In most property settlement agreements the parties will delineate as to what events or circumstances will define an emancipation. When an agreement does not exist, the courts generally will presume that a child becomes emancipated at the age of 18. The Child Support Guidelines do not apply to a child who is 18 years or older and no longer in high school or any other secondary educational institution. A child often will be declared emancipated when the child marries or if the child has his or her own child. Additionally, a child may be declared emancipated if he or she enters into the military.
    Does a person have to pay for the college costs for their child?
    The courts have viewed education as a necessity. The recent trend in New Jersey has been to require parents to pay for the college costs for their children. Therefore, if the child is attending college, then it is very unlikely that a court will grant an emancipation motion.
    When a court makes a decision as to whether or not to require a parent to pay for a child's college education and related expenses, the court must consider the complete set of facts of each case. The court will analyze the following factors to assess if a parent should pay for a child's college costs; (1) the effect of the background, values, and goals of the parent on the reasonableness of the expectation of the child for higher education; (2) the amount of contribution sought by the child for the cost of the higher education; (3) the ability of the parent to pay that cost; (4) the relationship of the requested contribution to the kind of school or course of study sought by the child; (5) the financial resources of both parties; (6) the commitment to and aptitude of the child for the requested education; (7) the financial resources of the child, including assets held individually or in custodianship or trust; (8) the ability of the child to earn income during the school year or on vacation; (9) the availability of financial aid in the form of college grants; (10) the child's relationship to the paying parent, including mutual affection and shared goals as well as responsiveness to parental advice and guidance; (11) the relationship of education requested to any prior training and to the overall long range goals of the child.
    The decision on whether or not a parent should pay for the college costs rests in the court's hand. However, there is a strong trend towards requiring parents, if they are financial capable, to pay for the college. In most cases, the courts will not require the payor to pay for college and for child support at the same time. However, once again the key issue is how much money the payor who is usually the father has.
    How can a person emancipate a child and stop paying child support?
    Child support does not end automatically once the child turns 18. A person who pays child support must file an application with the court clerk and it is known as a motion to request that the child be declared emancipated. The child support obligation will only end once a family court judge enters an order that declares the child emancipated. The order of emancipation is then given to Probation, and the garnishment of the payor's pay check will then be stopped.
    This entire emancipation process takes about 3 to 4 months. Therefore, the emancipation application should be made in advance of the child's graduation from high school or of their 18th birthday. In some counties, the judge will rule on the emancipation application only on the papers, and a court appearance will not be necessary. However, in some counties a hearing is set down, regardless whether the opposing party files an objection.
    In summary, it is extremely important to always timely file for emancipation. A person should not take it for granted that child support automatically ends once the child turns 18. I have had many cases when child support arrearages accrues into the tens of thousands of dollars, even after the child is well over 18 years of age. The parent can avoid this problem if they just file a timely emancipation motion. The child support arrearages continue to accrue up until the child reaches the age of 26. If a person just ignores filing for emancipation, then eventually they will get a bill from Probation advising him that he owes tens of thousands of dollars in back child support. Furthermore, Probation will advise him that his driver's license is also indefinitely suspended.


    • #3
      Confused in NJ

      Regarding emancipation, what if the child is going to her 5th year of college to obtain her undergraduate degree. The child will also be living off camus and renting an apartment and working at least 20 hours a week. Additionally, after my daughter uses up all the financial aide available, my ex-wife and I pay for the remainder of the tuition fee. Can this child be emancipated? I would be willing to pay for my daughter's portion of her rent until she finishes her undergraduate work. I don't think it's fair that her mother obtain the child support when she will have no real expenses that would justify her getting it. Lastly, what do the NJ courts say about attending a graduate college as respecys child support?