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When Does Child Support End in New Jersey?

Divorce can change the lives of an entire family. If the couple has children together, parents are required to settle new arrangements for the future of their kids. It is important to provide children with as stable of a transition as possible into their new life. The state of New Jersey stresses the importance of putting the best interest of the child first during this time. This involves making sure that they keep a similar standard of living that they were used to before their parents divorced. 

In order to maintain this standard of living, the state requires both parents to financially assist their child. This is done through child support payments from one parent to the other. These payments are determined by a judge following the New Jersey Child Support Guidelines. These guidelines calculate the child’s cost of living with the income of the family. The judge also considers several factors regarding the family’s financial status. This includes the parents’ work history and earning capacity in addition to this cost of providing for the child and their needs. Throughout this process, the judge is able to determine a fair amount for support payments.

Age of Emancipation

When a parent has physical custody of their child, they are considered the custodial parent. This job comes with several responsibilities, as the child lives with this parent the majority of the time. The most important role of this parent is to provide the child with a stable life. To do so, they must make sure the child has a home, food, clothes, an education, and more. The cost of living for a child can become overwhelming for one parent to afford on their own. This is why the non-custodial parent is required to financially assist the child through support payments. Child support is required to be paid until the child reaches the age of emancipation. In New Jersey, this age is usually 19 years old. 

Every family life is different, which is why every case is handled as such. It is important to know that not all support payments are terminated when a child reaches 19 years old. There are circumstances under which the court makes exceptions to the age of emancipation. Sometimes, courts will extend the payments if a child is still unable to support themselves. This may be if they decide to pursue higher education, such as college or trade school. In these situations, the court may mandate payments to end when the education is finished. When this happens, parents must continue supporting their child until they are able to do so themselves. However, it is possible to end support payments early. If a parent can prove to the court that their child can provide for themselves, they can petition for emancipation. If the court approves and emancipates the child, child support payments can end.

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