On January 19, 2016, Governor Christie signed into law S-1046/A-2721, affecting the termination of child support and medical support. The new law provides that the payor’s obligation to pay child support terminates automatically (without an order of the court) if and when a child turns 19, marries, dies, or enters the military service unless there is an existing written agreement or order that specifies another end date.
For families whose child is already over the age of 19 — Child support will end on February 1, 2017, rather than on the child’s 19th birthday, when the new statute, which applies to all existing support orders, takes effect unless there is a written agreement or order to the contrary.
For families whose child will be 19 or older as of February 1, 2017 — On or around August of 2016, the probation department will send a Notice of Child Support Termination, informing the parents that their support obligations will end when the child turns 19 unless the parents can show a reason for an exception. This notice will be sent out 180 days before the child’s 19th birthday and will contain information on how to request a continuation of child support. If there is no response to the first Notice of Child Support Termination, parents will have another opportunity to respond when a second notice is sent out 90 days prior to their child’s 19th birthday.
Exceptions may occur in cases where the child has a physical or mental disability or is attending school (high school, college, vocational program, etc.) full time. Under the new law, such exceptions extend support to age 23. Additionally, this change in the law will not affect agreements between parties that provide for the termination of child support beyond the age of 19.
This new law shifts the burden of proof onto the parent receiving the child support to demonstrate the need for the continued support.
To see whether S-1046/A-2721 will apply to you, and to learn what steps you can take to ensure your child support does not automatically terminate on your child’s 19th birthday, or if you receive a Notice of Child Support Termination and need assistance, please contact us. We look forward to helping your family.