Governor Christie signed New Jersey’s emancipation statute

New Jersey’s pending emancipation statute S-1046/A-2721 (on child support and its termination) was signed by Governor Christie on January 19th and will be effective from February 1, 2017 (13 months after its enactment).

The emancipation statute is applicable to all child support orders which were issued prior to, or after the effective date. It provides certainty regarding when and how child support will be terminated or implemented. The rebuttable presumption regarding its termination at the age of 18 was also altered. Further, it does not revive the parent from paying support or other costs, while the child is enrolled in a full-time post-secondary education program.

The obligation to pay a child support will be terminated without a court’s order or judgment on the date a child gets married or dies or enters into military service or even when a child turns 19 unless (a) the court orders to extend the age to 23 years or with a prospective date of child support termination; (b) through a written request along with the documents by a custodial parent to the court, to extend the continuation of child support to a future date prior to the child attaining the age of 19; (c) a child receiving support through the Division of child Protection and Permanency in the Department of Children and Families.

In case the child support matters are administered through probation, both parents are required to receive at least two written notices of a proposed termination which must include the information and the request form to facilitate the continuation of child support beyond the date of the child turning 19. The first notice will be sent 180 days and the second one at least 90 days prior to the proposed termination date.

The obligation to pay child support will terminate when a child turns 23 except when they seek an order for the payment of other forms of financial maintenance or reimbursement from a parent, authorized by law. In case of physical/mental disability, on the basis of an application from a parent or child, the court may order other forms of financial maintenance for the child who turns 23.

Also, in case of an unallocated child support order for two or more children, the obligation to pay for one child under the new law terminates, while the existing support obligation continues. In case support is allocated and support for one terminates, the amount for the remaining children will be adjusted to reflect only upon the amount allotted for the remaining child/children.

When child support terminates under the new statute, the existing arrears will remain due and enforceable and the mode of payment for such support will be determined.

The law is inapplicable to child support provisions of a foreign judgment and that is registered in New Jersey for modification or enforcement under the Uniform Interstate Family Support Act (UIFSA), or even a law that is similar to the Uniform Reciprocal Enforcement of Support ACT (URESA).

The law also does not prohibit the parties from seeking consent to a specific termination date for child support. Moreover, a payor can file a petition to terminate or extend child support for good cause before or after a child turns19.

It not only creates a substantial impact on the matrimonial practice, but also presents a continuous trend in the amended alimony and premarital agreement laws.



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