Legislation approved by the New Jersey Assembly Judiciary Committee Monday could change the termination age for child support payments from 18 to 19 years of age.

(Governor's Office/Tim Larsen)
(Governor's Office/Tim Larsen)

The overwhelming majority of parents who pay court-ordered child support want the best for their children and make the payments, but there are some who can't wait for their kids to turn 18 years old so the payments will stop. If you're a parent in either category, you should know about a bill advancing in Trenton that would tack another year onto your child support obligations.

"The bill changes the termination of child support from age 18 to age 19," said Assemblyman Reed Gusciora (D-Trenton). "Raising it to 19 is just a more realistic way of ensuring that child is cared for through high school and when he's entering into adulthood."

Child support payments could end before the child turns 19 if that child gets married, enters the military or if the parents mutually agree to terminate the payments.

"This is to enforce any existing child support orders so that it would just be good and valid until age 19," Gusciora said. "New York State is 21. Colorado is 19. Many states are either 18 or 19 and some are as old as 21."

The bill also provides for circumstances under which child support obligations could be extended beyond 19 years old, but only if they are court-approved. These include: if the child is still enrolled in high school or other secondary educational program; if the child is participating full-time in a post-secondary education program; if the child has a physical or mental disability that existed prior to the child reaching the age of 19 and requires continued support; or if other exceptional circumstances as may be approved by the court.

The legislation is retroactive, meaning if it becomes law even parents who already have a child support payment order in place would have to pay until the child turns 19 years old. The Assembly Judiciary Committee approved the bill Monday. The identical Senate measure has not yet had a committee hearing.

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