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Family Law

NJ's New Child Support Statute

Considering the Disabled Child

New Jersey's new child support statute, titled Termination of Obligation to Pay Child Support, became effective on Feb. 1. Under this statute, a child support obligation terminates "by operation of law" when the child turns 19, which termination can be extended until the child turns 23 under certain circumstances and using certain procedures. But what about children with special needs?

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New Jersey’s new child support statute, titled Termination of Obligation to Pay Child Support, N.J.S.A. 2A:17-56.67, became effective on Feb. 1. Under this statute, a child support obligation terminates “by operation of law” when the child turns 19, which termination can be extended until the child turns 23 under certain circumstances and using certain procedures. Unless another age for termination of support is present in a court order, or where the child is in an out-of-home placement, the burden is on the custodial parent to submit an application and supporting documentation to the court that seeks an extension of child support beyond the child’s 19th birthday. Such a burden is nothing new, as a child reaching the age of majority has long been “prima facie, but not conclusive, proof of emancipation.” Llewelyn v. Shewchuk, 440 N.J. Super. 207, 216 (App. Div. 2015). However, the statute’s definitive termination of a child support obligation upon the child’s 23rd birthday is new.

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