The short answer in New Jersey is not really. Usually the parties need either a Court Order or a consent agreement for child support to end.
Unlike many other States, New Jersey does not set forth an exact numeric age at which child support ends. So, child support will not automatically end simply because a child turns 18 or 21, for example. Nor does child support end automatically when a kid graduates.
When it comes to high school graduation, child support often continues if the child goes on to attend full-time college, full-time trade school, or some other type of full-time educational program. See Limpert v. Limpert, 119 N.J. Super. 438, 442 (App. Div. 1972). Most of the time, however, in order for the child support to continue while in college or trade school, the child must show proof that he or she is making reasonable progress towards obtaining the degree. See Van Brunt v. Van Brunt, 419 N.J. Super. 327, 329 (Ch. Div. 2010). In other words, the child cannot simply squander away his or her time in school.
However, if after graduating from high school the child does not go on to higher education, then most likely child support will end. But you still need a Court Order.
When it comes to graduation from college, most of the time a judge will terminate child support if asked by one of the parties. However, there are still some times when a parent might not be completely off the hook. There have been a few cases where parents have been made to continue to pay child support past college graduation, especially if their child goes on to attend graduate school and the parents have the economic resources to continue to pay child support and/or tuition. See Ross v. Ross, 167 N.J. Super. 441, 446 (Ch. Div. 1979).
Contact the New Jersey Child Support Lawyers at Lyons & Associates, P.C.
In short, sometimes child support ends when a child graduates, and sometimes it does not. Each case is fact sensitive, and it is not automatic. If you or someone you know has questions about whether their child should stop, then call one of the skilled attorneys at Lyons & Associates at 908-575-9777 for a consultation today. You can also fill out our online intake form.
Written By: Theresa Lyons