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At What Ages Does Child Support End in NJ?

adult children

Child support is a legal obligation that requires non-custodial parents to contribute financially towards their child's everyday living expenses, healthcare, education, and other needs. This system ensures that both parents share the cost of raising the child, even if they are not living together. 

Generally, child support obligations in New Jersey last until the child turns 19 years old. However, under certain circumstances, child support can be extended in certain circumstances. In this blog, we will discuss the legally valid reasons child support payments can stop (outside of the child turning 19) and reasons that a parent can file to extend child support.  

Other Reasons Child Support May Be Terminated in NJ 

In addition to terminating once a child turns 19 years old, a parent can move to have New Jersey child support order ended if the child:  

  • Gets married  

  • Enlists in the armed forces  

  • Becomes emancipated 

  • Graduates from high school and does not pursue higher education 

Child Support Can Be Extended Past Age 19  

The duration of child support payments can be influenced by several factors such as the child's age, disability status, and other pertinent circumstances. For instance, if the child has a physical or mental disability, the support may be extended beyond the usual age limit.  

New Jersey law allows for child support to be continued past age 19 up to age 23 if the dependent is disabled, still in high school, is attending postsecondary education full-time, or if both parents agree. It is important to note that support for a child with a severe physical or mental disability can have their support orders extended past 23 years old.  

In New Jersey, the recipient parent can file to have child support continued. However, the burden of proof lies with them in establishing why support should be continued.  

Consequences of Failing to Pay Child Support in NJ 

It is important to note that you must fulfill your child support obligations. Unpaid child support is considered a debt called arrears and failing to pay child support on time in New Jersey can lead to serious consequences.  

If a parent falls behind on payments, enforcement actions may include: 

  • Withholding of income. The state can order employers to deduct child support directly from the non-paying parent's paycheck. 

  • Suspension of licenses. Non-payment can lead to the suspension of the default driver's or other professional licenses. 

  • Issuance of a bench warrant. A judge may issue a bench warrant for the arrest of a non-paying parent. 

  • Interception of tax refunds. The state can intercept federal and state tax refunds to cover unpaid child support.  

  • Interception of lottery or casino winnings. A person who has failed to make payments can have their prize money from their casino or lottery winnings intercepted.  

  • Credit reporting. The state can report failed payment to credit bureaus, which can affect the payee’s credit score.  

  • Seizure of assets. If the payee fails to make payment and has money or assets in the bank or owns stocks and bonds, the Child Support Office can take action to seize the assets to pay for support.  

  • Passport application denials. If a person owes $2,500 or more in child support arrears, their passport renewal application or general application can be denied. This decision can be appealed if they are required to travel for work or a medical emergency or if the arrears do not exceed $2,500.  

  • Interception of civil awards or settlements. If a parent with child support arrears receives a settlement award in a civil lawsuit (including a workers’ compensation suit), the settlement may be intercepted and applied to child support arrears.  

  • Court enforcement. The court can intervene if a parent fails to make child support payments by ordering they be arrested or immediately make a specified payment toward the arrears.  

If your ability to pay child support is affected by a change in circumstance, you should file for modification rather than fall behind on payments. A change in circumstances that can allow for modification can include job loss, layoffs, changes in the needs of the child, changes in cost of living, and changes in the custody arrangement.  

Parents should also be aware that if they have child support arrears when child support is terminated, the court can still hold them responsible for paying off the back owed support. The non-custodial parent can also still face enforcement action as well.  

Consult with Our Experienced Child Support Attorney 

A family or divorce lawyer can provide invaluable assistance in navigating child support issues. They can help establish a fair child support order, advocate for modifications if circumstances change, and represent you in court if enforcement actions become necessary. 

At William Kirby Law, Family Law Attorneys, our attorney has over two decades of experience helping families navigate their family law cases. If you or someone you know need help filing an initial child support claim or for post-judgment modification in New Jersey, our firm is here and prepared to help.  

Call (215) 515-9901 to schedule an initial consultation!