What Happens to Child Support When the Child Reaches 18?
You’ve been paying child support for your son for some time now. He’s about to turn 18 in a few weeks and plans to go to college in the fall. This means he’s an adult, so the child support order is at an end, correct?
Well, yes and no. Here’s why.
Child Support Ends at 19 in NJ
If you live in any other state when your child turns 18 and graduates high school, then he/she is considered emancipated and support payments will automatically end. But not in New Jersey. According to the New Jersey Emancipation Statute, unless there is something written in your support order stating what age payments can end, the statutory age of child support payments being terminated is now 19.
However, you can ask for emancipation. Once your child turns 18, you can file papers with the court asking for your child to be emancipated. However, you need to show the child can be financially independent of the parents. Based on any facts you present, the judge will then decide if the child still needs the parents’ financial support. If you decide not to go down this route, then yes, support payments will cease automatically at the age of 19.
But what if you have a child with special needs? Then, you can also do the opposite and request the court that payments continue past the child’s 19th birthday. But you will need to prove:
- The child is still in high school or enrolled full-time in a post-secondary school
- The child is physically or mentally disabled
If this occurs, then child support payments can be extended until the child reaches 23. Once that happens then, according to the new statute, the court could change the child support obligation into “another form of financial maintenance for a child who has reached the age of 23.” What does “financial maintenance” mean? One suggested method is depositing government benefits into a trust for a child.
If your child’s parent isn’t paying court-ordered child support, then you’re going to need to take legal action. Contact the Law Offices of Anthony Carbone to find out what your options are.