Child Support Obligations Can Actually Last a Long Time


Like many parents, you may have your own ideas about child support obligations.  Ultimately, it will be up to the court to approve the amount and duration.  For some, it might seem that child support should end at the conclusion of secondary education.  For others, it could appear reasonable that child support continues until college graduation.  Or, upon determination of a child’s emancipation.

In most cases, the length of time child support obligations are due is spelled out in the Final Order of Divorce.   Notwithstanding, this may be done by incorporation of a settlement agreement between the parties.   And, of course, there is the issue of emancipation.

We wrote about emancipation back in 2015.  However, since then, new legislation changed the laws.  For more details, you should review information that may be pertinent to your particular matter.  In the past, there were many incidences where it was necessary to return to court to request termination of child support.  Now, payments may stop at age nineteen with certain restrictions.

You can read the language of the law regarding termination of child support obligations at NJSA 2A:17-56.67Note that child support may be ordered indefinitely if a child is determined to suffer a significant mental or physical disability.  Nevertheless, such orders are always open to modification.

Father Seeks Modification of Child Support Order

Just recently, the Appellate Division considered a matter regarding modification of a child support order.   If you are concerned about the longevity of child support obligations, this case may interest you.  Be that as it may, it is important to note that this case is an unpublished opinion and relates to the parties to this matter.

At the onset, the age of the parties offers some insight considering the duration of child support.  The father is identified as a 74-year-old psychologist in private practice.  His son is fifty years ago and suffers from paranoid schizophrenia.  In 1989, the Social Security Administration determined that the son was permanently disabled.

At any rate, this is a case where the child’s age is irrelevant.  A court order has been in place for a number of years ordering the father to make support payments for his dependent son.  By and large, it does not appear that the father has disputed his obligation.

The issue, in this case, is more about the amount of support payments than anything else.  The father has remarried and has a seventeen-year-old daughter from his remarriage.  The father claims managed care payments to his professional practice have changed his income.  Therefore, he has requested a modification to the original child support order.

As it turns out, this matter is more about financial documentation necessary to prove a change of circumstances.  Even so, the fact that it involves support payments for an adult child is relevant.  It goes to show that child support obligations can last a very long time.

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Have concerns about child support obligations?   The Law Office of Sam Stoia can provide you with legal advice regarding your particular circumstances.  Contact us for a complimentary meeting to see how we can help!