New Jersey has enacted a new emancipation law designed to provide parents with more certainty as to when child support will end for their child or children. This new law went into effect on February 1, 2017, but applies to all court orders, regardless of when the order was approved.

The new law states that child support will terminate automatically when a child reaches 19 years of age, unless one of three conditions exist:

  1. there is another age for termination of child support specified in a court order, but the age cannot extend beyond the date the child turns 23 years old;
  2. a written request seeking the continuation of support is submitted to the court by a custodial parent prior to the child’s 19th birthday; or
  3. the child receiving support is in an out-of-home placement through the Division of Child Protection and Permanency (DCPP, formerly DYFS) in the Department of Children and Families.

The new emancipation law also requires the local County Probation Division to send a Notice of a Proposed Termination of Child Support to both the custodial and non-custodial parent 180 days prior to the proposed termination date and a second Notice 90 days prior to the proposed termination date.

When a custodial parent receives a Notice of a Proposed Termination of Child Support, they may submit a written request for the continuation of support with supporting documentation and a projected future date when child support will end (not to exceed the child’s 23rd birthday). The custodial parent’s written request for the continuation of child support could be granted under one of the following circumstances:

  1. the child is still enrolled in high school or other secondary program;
  2. the child is a student in a post-secondary (ex.: trade school, traditional college or graduate schools) program and is considered to be full-time attendance during some or part of each of any five calendar months of the year; OR
  3. the child has a physical or mental disability as determined by a federal or state agency that existed prior to the child’s reaching the age of 19 and requires continued support.

Finally, a custodial parent may file a motion application with the court seeking to extend child support beyond the age of 19 by demonstrating exceptional circumstances as approved by the court.

The state of New Jersey has posted some FAQs: Click Here. This law can be confusing for some people, so we recommend that you hire an experienced family law attorney to help guide you through this process.  If you have received a Notice of a Proposed Termination of Child Support already, or have a child who is likely to reach the 19 years of age in the coming months, contact the Law Offices of James T. Rosenberg, Esquire right away to schedule a consultation.