As New Jersey parents may know, child support payments are intended to involve both parents in the financial costs of raising a child. After a time, child support agreements terminate, and this usually occurs when the child becomes into a legal adult. In many jurisdictions, support ends when a child reaches 18. However, the age may be up to 21.
There are a number of examples where the age of majority may not act as an effective marker for the end of a parent’s child support obligation. For example, some areas allow the obligation continue while the child is pursing higher education. In addition, in cases where the child may suffer from disabilities, some jurisdictions order the paying parent to continue support beyond the age of majority. In contrast, if a child become emancipated, becoming financially independent from either party, the obligation may end before he or she reaches the age of 18.
In most cases, child support orders do not end without intervention. The person who is making the payments may be required to request a formal end to the obligation when their situation reaches a point where the child is no longer eligible for support. However, either parent might seek a modification of the agreement even if the child has not reached a certain age. For example, if the paying parent loses their employment or the parent receiving the payments remarries, they may have grounds for seeking a modification.
As time passes, child support payments may no longer be necessary for a family’s financial viability. If a parent believes that they are no longer required to pay their support obligations, they might take their case to a lawyer. A family law lawyer who is familiar with New Jersey standards for age of majority and grounds for a modification may be able to help a parent evaluate their situation and file the necessary petitions with the courts.