gavel over money

The New Jersey family court holds onto the belief that both parents have a financial responsibility toward their child. This means that, in a divorce decree, the court almost always orders the noncustodial payment to a monthly child support obligation. If this is your case, you may wonder how long you will be required to uphold this financial commitment. Follow along to find out when your child support order may end and how a proficient Morristown child support lawyer at Graves Andrews, LLC can help you understand when it may be shortened or extended.

When does a child support order end in the state of New Jersey?

You may assume that your child support order ends when your child becomes a legal adult at 18. However, the New Jersey family court may afford your child a “buffer year.” That is, after completing high school, your child may require time to figure out their next move and overall how to become a financially independent adult. For this reason alone, you may be obligated to fulfill your child support order until your child reaches the age of 19.

Under what circumstances might my child support order be shortened or extended?

You must understand that your child’s 19th birthday may not be the drop-dead deadline for your child support order. In other words, there may be extenuating circumstances in which you may petition for the New Jersey family court to shorten your order. Contrastingly, external factors may prompt the custodial parent to request the court to extend your order. More specific examples of each scenario are as follows:

  • Your child support order may be terminated before your child turns 19 if:
    • Your child has gotten legally married.
    • Your child has entered the military service.
    • Your child has, unfortunately, passed away.
    • Your child has legally emancipated themself.
  • Your child support order may be extended after your child turns 19 if:
    • Your child is still enrolled in a full-time high school, college, graduate school, or vocational school.
    • Your child cannot financially support themselves due to a physical or mental disability diagnosed before they turned 19.

Say, for instance, that the court grants your petition to terminate your child support order. Well, even so, you may still be obligated to pay off your past-due payments or arrears. On the other hand, say that the court grants the custodial parent’s request to extend your child support order. Well, you may rest easier knowing that this extension may only last until your child reaches the age of 23.

Of note, there is always the option of filing a post-judgment modification to, at the very least, reduce your financial obligation. Overall, you must retain the services of a talented Morristown family law attorney. Contact our Graves Andrews, LLC office today.