In January 2016, Governor Christie signed the termination of child support law establishing 19 as the age when child support in New Jersey will end. The law, which went into effect on February 1, 2018, allows support to continue until age 23 in some circumstances which are outlined in the law – or if both parties reached a separate agreement to do so. Here is some more information about the termination of child support law and how it may impact your family.
Continuing Child Support Beyond a Child’s 19th Birthday
If a court order specifies a different age for child support termination, it may be extended beyond age 19. A custodial parent can also submit a “Request for Continuation of Support” along with documentation proving the child is either:
- Currently enrolled in high school, college, or another secondary-educational program
- Has a pre-existing mental or physical disability verified by a state or federal agency that requires support beyond age 19
New Jersey courts generally favor the idea of parents contributing to their child’s college education. Request for Continuation of Support forms should include a future date for termination of support that falls before the child’s 23rd birthday along with documentation verifying the reason for that date.
Notification of Child Support Termination
For parents with support orders managed by the Probation Division of the Superior Court, custodial and non-custodial parents receive a “Notice of Proposed Child Support Obligation Termination” at least 180 days before the termination date. It is important to make sure the Child Support Program has your current contact information on file or you will miss your termination letters.
Financial Support Beyond Age 23
A parent or guardian can petition the court to transition child support into another form of “financial maintenance” after age 23. This type of financial support is not enforced by a Probation Unit. Even though financial maintenance is not enforceable by a state Probate unit, the court can still order a parent to provide some financial support past age 23, for expenses such as college tuition or medical bills.
Medical Coverage and Support After Age 19
Court-ordered obligations to pay medical coverage ends when child support ends at age 19. Custodial parents are permitted to file an application for medical support to continue until the child turns 23. Either parent can also voluntarily provide medical coverage through their employer until the child turns 26 under federal law and up to 31 in New Jersey if certain criteria are met.