Child Support and Planning for College Expenses
According to the recently passed New Jersey law S-1046/A-2721, effective February 2017, all New Jersey child support agreements will automatically terminate when the child reaches the age of 19, unless the parents specify otherwise in their Morris County child support agreement. As this is the age that many children will begin attending university, accounting for the expense associated with a post-secondary education is a critical component of any child support agreement if you believe your child will attend a college or university.
It is much easier, and cheaper, to include a plan for your child’s college expenses as part of your initial child support agreement at the time of your divorce, rather than modifying child support or requesting a continuation of support after the fact. For this reason, if you believe your child will seek a post-secondary education, it is critical that you speak with your Chester, NJ child support attorney when drafting your initial child support agreement about this concern. Your child support agreement can be drafted in such a way that ensures your child will continue to receive financial support after the age of 19 should they choose to attend a university or college.
That being said, if your initial child support agreement does not account for these expenses, there are several options available to custodial and non-custodial parents alike when it comes to modifying, extending, or terminating child support in Morris County.
Requesting a Continuation of Child Support in Morris County, NJ
Even if your child support agreement does not account for the college expenses of your child, and is set to terminate on their 19th birthday, you may still file what is known as a “Request for Continuation of Support” form to the courts, and potentially extend the age of which your child will receive financial support (until their 23rd birthday, the maximum age at which any New Jersey child can legally request or receive child support).
In order for a “Request for Continuation of Support” to be successful, one of three factors will need to be true:
- Your child is still enrolled in high school or another secondary-educational program like a vocational school
- Your child is enrolled full time in a college or post-secondary education program
- Your child has a physical or mental disability, as determined by a federal or state governmental agency, which existed prior to the child reaching the age of 19
Furthermore, as part of your child support continuation request, you will need to provide proof that your child is indeed enrolled full time in school. Importantly, the only proof which is acceptable in this case is either a letter from the school on letterhead, or an enrollment verification form. Things like transcripts, tuition bills, college acceptance letters, and financial aid documents are not valid documents when it comes to this requirement.
There are several enrollment verification services, and one of the most commonly used is EnrollmentVerify provided by the National Student Clearinghouse®.
As with any child support modification or termination process, it is highly recommended that you consult with an experienced Morris County child support attorney to help you ensure that you follow all of the necessary protocols and procedures for successfully resolving your child support issue.
When Will Child Support Payments End in Morris County?
As previously noted, the new New Jersey child support law effective February 1, 2017 automatically terminates child support obligations unless otherwise specified or requested when the child reaches the age of 19. This is true of child support agreements signed before this law was in place, and of course for child support agreements signed afterwards as well.
Not only will child support obligations automatically terminate unless otherwise specified when the child reaches the age of 19, child support obligations also automatically terminate if the child enters military service or marries.
However, if you are paying child support directly to a custodial parent, rather than through the probation department, it may be necessary to notify the child support department if and when one of these situations occur in order to end your child support obligations. For a better understanding of this process, and what you will need to do in order to terminate your child support payments, speak with your Chester, NJ child support attorney.
Contact Our Chester Child Support Attorneys Today
At The Law Office of Townsend, Tomaio & Newmark, our family law attorneys have extensive experience helping clients across Chester, Mendham, Chatham, Morristown, and the greater Morris County area with all manner of child support issues, including drafting an initial child support settlement, modifying existing agreements, requesting continuation of child support, and terminating child support obligations.
By practicing exclusively family law, our firm can focus on providing the knowledgeable, effective, and compassionate legal service that you need and deserve for the issues most important to you and your family.
To speak with our firm today in a free and confidential consultation regarding your divorce, planning for your child’s education needs and expenses in your child support agreement, or modifying, continuing, or terminating an existing child support order, please contact us online, or through our Morristown, NJ office at (973) 840-8970.