The state of New Jersey requires that parents who pay child support need to do so until their child reaches the age of majority, which is 19 years of age. However, there are some situations in which the need to pay child support can last for more or less time. If you are confused about your obligations, one of our Union County child support attorneys can assist you.
Who Has to Pay Child Support?
If parents divorce, the state says that both must continue to contribute and financially support their children. Most cases that require child support involve a parent who the child lives with, the custodial parent, and a parent who has visitation rights, a noncustodial parent. The noncustodial parent has to pay child support to the custodial parent since the latter is providing for the child’s housing and other needs the majority of the time.
The state of New Jersey has its own guidelines for determining child support fairly. The court can look at the financial status of both parents, their work history, and the specific needs of the child to decide what kind of support is required. Then, in most cases, that support continues until the child reaches the age of majority.
Are There Situations That Can End or Extend My Child Support Obligations?
There are some situations in which the noncustodial parent has to continue making support payments for a child that is older than 19 years of age. This is mostly done when it looks as if the child would not be able to support themselves on their own. Common reasons for continuation include:
- The child has a disability
- The child is younger than 23 years old and enrolled full-time in school
- The parents have reached an agreement that support would continue after the child turned 19
The child has reached the state’s age of majority, but they are still not considered to be completely independent yet. There are also situations in which the custodial parent’s obligation to pay child support ends before their son or daughter reaches 19 years of age. Payments for child support can end early if:
- The child joins the military
- The child marries
- The child is legally emancipated
In these situations, a child is seen as independent from their parents. If they are emancipated, they have effectively legally separated from you. If they are in the military or married, they are no longer seen as dependent on their parents. So any need for future support ceases.
However, there is one critical thing to remember. If you owe back child support when one of these events occurs you will still need to make those payments.
Contact a Family Law Attorney
If you are unsure of your obligations or you are trying to negotiate a better support arrangement, we can assist you. Ross & Calandrillo, LLC has plenty of experience helping clients with divorce, child support, and child custody suits, so contact us for a case evaluation today.