Important points about child support termination and emancipation

Child support is a key factor in New Jersey family law. From the perspectives of the paying parent and the receiving parent, it is important to understand the law not just for how much will be paid, when the payments will be made and what happens if the payments are delinquent, but also under what circumstances the payments might automatically stop. Two situations parents should know about are termination and emancipation.

The child support payments will automatically be terminated at certain points. Age is a relevant factor. If the child turns 19 and is no longer at a high school, a vocational school or another secondary program, the supporting parent will no longer be obligated to pay. To continue receiving the payments, the child must be in college, graduate school or in a different program through age 23. If the child is disabled, the payments may continue. The parent or the child may seek payments beyond age 23, but this will be a different type of financial maintenance and is not categorized as child support.

In some instances, the child will be emancipated and child support is no longer needed. This can happen before the child turns 19. The criteria for emancipation is if the child is deemed self-sufficient and independent. If emancipation is granted by the court, then the support payments for that child will stop. For parents who have other children who are receiving support, the emancipated child must be removed by the court after a request has been made for an adjustment to the order.

For those with more than one child, there might be an allocated child support order. Allocated means that the children are supported individually in the order. Unallocated is when there is no breakdown for different children and their child support. When requesting that the support order be terminated or asking for an emancipation, it is imperative to know which kind of support order is relevant for that case.

When seeking child support, requesting a modification or asking for a termination due to the child’s age or his or her emancipation, the law can be confusing. Parents who try to deal with these cases on their own are prone to mistakes or may end up in a dispute with the other parent. Child support is not just about determining what will be paid and ensuring the payments are made on time and in full. There are other aspects to it and having legal help can be beneficial.