Until recently, New Jersey child support had no statute in place that automatically terminated child support once a child reaches a certain age. However on January 19, 2016 New Jersey Governor Chris Christie signed a new NJ child support emancipation  law that allows child support payments to automatically terminate once a child turns 19. The law will go into effect on February 1, 2017.


A person who pays child support for a dependent child will be subject to the law as of February 1, 2017. That means that if a dependent child turns 19 years old on May 1, 2017, the child support will automatically terminate on May 1, 2017.

The new law will be phased in for those whose dependent child is 19 years old or older prior to the law going into effect, meaning that the child support will end on February 1, 2017, not on the child’s 19th birthday. For example, if a dependent child will turn 19 years old on December 15, 2016, the child support will not terminate until February 1, 2017.


The law allows for child support to remain in until the child is 23 years old in certain cases, including:

  • if the child is still in high school;
  • if the child is enrolled in a college, vocational, or graduate school full time;
  • if the child is mentally or physically disabled; or
  • if the parties agreed that the support would continue for a longer period of time;

If a judgment of divorce or court order contains a provision requiring the payment of child support until after the child is 19 years old, the new law will not affect that order.


Absent any of the exceptions discussed above, child support will automatically terminate when the child reaches 19 years of age. However, prior to the termination date the parent receiving child support may seek to continue the support past that age.

The State of New Jersey will send notices of child support termination 6 months prior to the termination date. At that time, the parent receiving child support may request a hearing or make a motion in court to continue the child support payments in certain situations. If a judge agrees, the court has the authority to order the child support payments to continue until a specific date upon which the child support will terminate, or a date on which the circumstances leading to the continuation will be reviewed.


If the parent paying child support owes the other parent back child support, those payments will still be due past the child reaching 19 years of age after the law goes into effect.

The new NJ child support emancipation law will affect many parents the currently pay or receive child support. If you have questions about how your child support may change, please call the Law Offices of Peter Van Aulen at (201) 845-7400 for a free 30 minute in office consultation.

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