Notice of Proposed Child Support Obligation Termination in New Jersey—Why am I Receiving This?
As a result of a new law in New Jersey regarding termination of child support, payors and payees may now be receiving notices from the Probation Division of the Superior Court titled “Notice of Proposed Child Support Obligation Termination.”
The law went into effect February 1, 2017 and establishes that child support should end automatically on the day that the child marries, dies, enters military service or turns 19 years old. However, the law states that child support can be continued beyond the child’s 19th birthday if a different age is specified in a court-order or there is proof that the child is either:
♦ Still enrolled in high school or other secondary-educational program;
♦ Still enrolled full-time in college or other post-secondary educational program; or
♦ Has a physical or mental disability, as determined by a federal or state governmental agency, that existed prior to the child reaching the age of 19 and requires continued support.
The law also states that child support cannot continue past the age of 23.
So what does this new law have to do with the Notice of Proposed Child Support Obligation Termination?
For child support orders that are being supervised by the Probation Division, the Probation Division will now be sending out a Notice of Proposed Child Support Obligation Termination to both the payor and payee 180 days before the child support obligation termination date. This will be most likely be when the child turns 19, unless there is a court order that specifies an alternate termination date. If no response is received to the Notice, the Probation Division will send a Second Notice of Proposed Child Support Obligation Termination 90 days before the termination date. If no response is received, the child support obligation will terminate automatically. It is very important to respond in a timely manner if you wish to oppose the termination of child support.
What do I do if I receive one of these Notices but have a Court Order that specifies a different age for child support termination?
Provided the termination date is before the child’s 23rd birthday, you simply return the original “Request for Continuation of Support” form, along with a copy of the court order. The Probation Division will then update its records with the new termination date that is in the court order. If your current child support order states an event for termination, such as college graduation, you should submit to the Probation Division the anticipated date for this event based upon proofs.
What do I do if I receive a Notice of Proposed Child Support Obligation Termination but have a child that is still in high school, college, or disabled?
You must submit the original “Request for Continuation of Support” form, along with proof that the child is either enrolled in high school or other secondary-educational program, still enrolled full-time in college or other post-secondary educational program, or has a physical or mental disability, as determined by a federal or state governmental agency that existed prior to the child reaching the age of 19 and requires continued support. In your “Request for Continuation of Support,” you must include a future date that the child support would end (some time before the child’s 23rd birthday), that is supported by your documentation. For example, if the request for continuation of support is based upon the child being enrolled in college full-time, you should include a letter from the college stating that the child is currently enrolled full-time at the school and is scheduled to graduate on a certain date. A specific date must be submitted to the Probation Division, it cannot be an event. Both parents will then be notified whether the request for continuation of child support was approved.
What do I do if I do not agree with the termination or continuation of support finding?
You may file a motion with the court in the proper county, which is normally where the original order was entered. You should speak with your attorney about this process.
A few additional things to keep in mind:
♦ If your child is over the age of 23, the new law prohibits the enforcement of child support via the Probation Division, which means payments are no longer enforceable or monitored through the Probation Division. However, that does prohibit the parties from agreeing to, or the court ordering, financial maintenance beyond the age of 23 based upon the circumstances.
♦ The new law only relates to the obligation to pay child support, it does not define emancipation as to other parental duties, rights, and responsibilities.
♦ If you have more than one child, and have an order with unallocated child support (meaning it is an order for child support for all of your children that does not specify a specific amount for each child individually), once the obligation is terminated for 1 child, you will need to file an application with the court to determine the new child support amount for the other child(ren). The Probation Division will not automatically re-calculate child support once the obligation for one child has been terminated. If you have an allocated child support order (where an amount is specified for each child), then your support order will be adjusted automatically to deduct the amount of the terminated obligation. So if you have more than one child and an unallocated child support order, it is important that once child support for one child is terminated, you apply to the court to determine the new child support amount. Otherwise, you will continue to be responsible for paying the total child support amount.
If you have any questions about these new procedures, you should contact the Probation Division that handles your case. The following website might also be off assistance: http://www.njchildsupport.org/Services-Programs/Custodial-Parents/Termination/Termination-FAQs.
If you need to file a motion with the Court challenging a decision made by the Probation Division or need to file to modify child support based upon termination of one child’s support obligation, you should contact a family law attorney for assistance.
At the Law Office of Jill Jedrusiak, we would be happy to help you with your child support matters. Contact us today at (732) 719-2202 or firstname.lastname@example.org. Or you can visit our website at www.jerseyfamilyattorney.com.