Will the emancipation statute affect New Jersey child support?

Recently, New Jersey Governor Chris Christie signed a bill into law that is commonly referred to as the emancipation statute. This new statute may have a significant impact on when and how your child support order will terminate. Due to the effects it may have on your situation, it behooves you to understand the changes made by the new law so that you are prepared.

Currently, most child support orders terminate on a child’s 18th birthday. This is generally the case unless the order specifies otherwise. Under the new law, child support orders will be extended and will instead terminate on a child’s 19th birthday. It will be applicable to those orders that are issued before and after the new law takes effect on February 1, 2017.

The new law specifies that child support orders should terminate automatically when a child turns 19-years-old, except under certain circumstances. Support orders may be extended in situations when the child who is receiving support is placed outside of the home by the Department of Children and Families. Additionally, the court may grant extensions in some cases if the custodial parent requests a continuation before the child’s 19th birthday. Child support orders also terminate automatically on the day a child enters into military service, gets married or dies.

Child support obligations may be extended in situations when the court orders stipulate an alternative age for termination. This may occur if your child is still in high school, is disabled, is attending a full-time vocational school or college, or if you and your child’s other parent reached an alternative arrangement on your own. The age for such extensions, however, is capped at 23-years-old.

This post has provided an overview of New Jersey’s new emancipation statute. However, you should keep in mind that each situation is unique. Therefore, you should take this post only as general information and not as legal advice.