Continuing Child Support Past Age 19
Child support obligations do not last forever. According to N.J.S.A. 2A:17-56.67, child support obligations terminate when your child marries, dies, enters the military, or reaches age 19. What happens if you need child support past age 19? Increasingly, children are not equipped to support themselves even if they are legally adults. Instead, they might need continuing support, especially if they are attending college.
Fortunately, you might be able to continue child support past 19 if you can show that the child qualifies. However, the circumstances that warrant an extension are limited.
Reasons to Request an Extension of Child Support
Continuing child support is available in the following situations:
- Your child is still enrolled in high school or in another secondary school.
- Your child has attended post-secondary school (college) full time in the prior five calendar months.
- Your child has a disability which occurred before the child turned 19.
If you are seeking an extension, realize that child support cannot be extended past your child’s 23rd birthday. According to law, child support automatically terminates at that date. If your child is disabled or needs additional support for other reasons, they can seek it from the court, but they cannot obtain child support. Instead, they typically will ask the convert to convert the child support into another form of support.
The Process to Request an Extension
You should receive a notice of proposed termination from the court notifying you of the upcoming date of termination. To request an extension, you do not file a motion with the court. Instead, you fill out a form created at the Administration Offices of the Court. In the form, you must propose a termination date for child support, which must be before you child turns age 23. Remember to attach supporting documentation, such as your child’s attendance records at high school or college, or medical records that establish your child’s disability.
A judge will either approve or reject your request and provide notification to both parents. The parent paying child support can oppose the request to defer emancipation. For example, your ex might claim that your child is not attending post-secondary school like you claim, or that he or she is not disabled. A judge will ultimately need to decide whether to extend child support payments.
Earlier Termination is Possible by Agreement
Many marital settlement agreements have contained language specifying that child support will terminate at some point after the child was 19. This language, if approved by a judge, is enforceable. For example, you and your ex might agree that you will provide support until the child is 21. These clauses are certainly enforceable and not against public policy, so you should think about including a termination date if you are divorcing and have children.
Speak with a New Jersey Family Law Attorney
Children frequently need support, even after they reach the age of emancipation. To protect your rights to continued support, you should make a timely request, well-supported with documentation. If you need help, then you should contact a New Jersey family law attorney as soon as possible.
Elena K. Weitz, attorney at law, has helped countless families with child support issues, and she is available to answer your questions. To schedule a consultation, please reach out to her today.