Much Confusion has been circulating concerning the Law regarding the new presumption that Child Support ends at 19 but no later than 23 in certain instance where the custodial parent can show reasons why it should not terminate and that the child is not emancipated. NJSA 2A:17-56.67 Should the burden be on the custodial parent to prove that child support should not terminate or should it be on the payor parent to show that it should? According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, in October 2017, 66.7 percent of 2017 high school graduates age 16 to 24 were enrolled in colleges or universities. Among persons age 20 to 29 who received a bachelor’s degree in 2017, 77.6 percent were employed. With those numbers it is clearly more likely than not that a child will attend college. A child in College generally remains unemancipated if he or she relies upon his or her parents for support and is under their “umbrella”. There are many factors that are considered to determine if emancipated or not, but suffice it to say it is less likely for a child to be emancipated at 19 years of age.
The New Jersey State Bar Association’s Family Law Section proposed legislation to revise the Statute making the presumptive age 23, not age 19 and suggesting that the Statue relate only to the Probation department’s collection of child support such that the child can continue to receive support beyond the termination date by way of direct pay to the custodial parent. This makes sense in light of the fact that more children go on to college, some children complete school slower than others and not every child is on the same timeline for graduation. With the nearly 80% employment rate following a college education, it may very well be in the child’s best interest to complete college.