Now that summer has arrived, there are thousands of high school students graduating high school and making college plans – or, at least, turning 18. A parent that is paying child support may see these milestones not only as a great turning point in their child’s life, but also as the opportunity to stop child support payments.
There is a common misconception that once a child graduates high school or turns 18, parents are no longer obligated to make child support payments. In New Jersey, this is not always the case. In general, child support obligations end when the child is no longer in need of economic support from their parents, but this does not always happen when they turn 18 or leave high school.
Factors That Affect Child Support Obligations
These factors determine how long child support payments are required, and when those obligations end.
- Age of the Child – When a child turns 18, they may not automatically be able to end their support needs from their parents. After all, some 18-year-olds are still in high school or just starting college. Age is rarely a factor New Jersey courts will consider when determining if child support obligations can be terminated.
- Job – Teens often seek employment, and some 18-year-olds may skip college and enter the workforce directly instead. If the child is supporting themselves through their own income, the courts may honor a request to terminate child support payments because the child is considered legally emancipated.
- Education – If an 18-year-old opts for the college route full-time, they may still rely on their parents’ financial support while going to school. If the child still lives with the custodial parent, child support obligations are likely to continue. If, however, the child does not live at home on a full-time basis, child support payments may be reduced to reflect that fact.
- Military Enlistment – When an 18-year-old enlists in the military, courts will honor requests to terminate child support. This is because the child is no longer under the economic support of their parents.
- Marriage – When children get married at 18, they are no longer dependent on their parents; therefore, they become legally emancipated and child support payments end.
Lastly, the divorce settlement may state when child support obligations will end. Some parents have strict wording in their support orders that automatically terminate child support on a specific date, at a certain age milestone, or in specific circumstances – such as when the child begins full-time employment.
Consult Romanowski Law Offices Regarding Your Child Support Payments
If you are paying or receiving child support payments and have questions regarding when those payments can stop, contact Romanowski Law Offices. We can review your support order documents and assess the factors of your case to help determine if a modification or request for termination is warranted. Contact us online or call 732-603-8585 to schedule an expert consultation.