On July 23, 2015, the New Jersey Senate approved a bill (S1046) that would allow for automatic termination of child support when the child reaches age 19.
According to the bill, child support will automatically terminate when the child reaches 19 unless: another age for termination of child support (also known as emancipation) is specified in another court order; the parents and a judge agree that support can continue until another date; or a judge agrees to order continued support based on an application filed by the child support recipient. The bill also provides that child support for a child under the age of 19 shall be automatically terminated upon the death, marriage, or entrance into military service of that child.
If the child support recipient wishes to continue receiving child support after the child turns 19, the recipient may request a continuation of child support for the following reasons: the child is still in high school; the child is a full time post-secondary education student; the child has a physical or mental disability that existed before he or she turned 19 and that requires continued support; or other exceptional circumstances.
Under current law, there is no automatic termination of child support. Instead, once a child turns 18 a presumption arises in favor of emancipation. However, the recipient, who is usually the child’s primary custodial parent, can overcome that presumption by showing that the child is not ‘beyond the sphere of influence and responsibility exercised by a parent[.]” Bishop v. Bishop, 287 N.J. Super. 593, 598 (Ch. Div. 1995). For example, New Jersey courts have found that full-time college students over 18 are not considered beyond the sphere of influence of a parent and that child support should continue for as long as the child maintains that status.
Presently, the burden is on the person who is paying child support to request that the child be emancipated once the child turns 18. If the bill is also approved by the New Jersey Assembly and signed by Gov. Christie, the burden will shift to the child support recipient to request that child support continue beyond the child reaching age 19. As such, the bill is already quite controversial amongst New Jersey family law practitioners, and the Family Law Section of the New Jersey State Bar Association has already spoken out against it. Stay tuned to this blog for updates on bill S1046 and other exciting and interesting New Jersey family law news.
Salvaggio Law Group LLC devotes its entire practice to New Jersey divorce and family law matters, including child support. If want to talk you call us at (973) 455-1220 or fill out the Contact Form on our web on our website.