Changes to New Jersey Court Rule Addressing the Termination of Child Support Obligation

As of September 1, 2017, major changes were made to R. 5:6-9, which addresses the termination of child support unless certain proofs are provided by the custodial parent, consistent with the recently passed legislation, specifically, N.J.S.A. 2A:17-56.67, et seq.

New language was explicitly stating that the rule applies “unless otherwise provided in a court order” and clarifying that only a judge, and not a hearing officer, can terminate child support obligations.

Notably, additional language was further added to clarify that child support can, in fact, extend beyond the age of 23 years for a child in the event, despite the rule and statute stating that “in no case shall a child support obligation extend beyond the date the child reaches the age of 23.” (R. 5:6-9(a)(4)). For example, R. 5:6-9(g) asserts “Financial Maintenance for a Child Beyond 23 Years of Age” and that (1) a child beyond 23 years of age may apply to the court for an order requiring the payment of financial maintenance or reimbursement from a parent; (2) a parent, or a child over the age of 23, may apply to the court for an order converting a child support obligation to another form of financial maintenance in exceptional circumstances, including, but not limited to the child’s physical or mental disability that existed prior to the date that the child reached the age of 23; (3) any arrearages accrued prior to the date of termination or conversion shall remain due and enforceable by the oblige or probation division, as appropriate; and, (4) Court-ordered financial maintenance or reimbursement from a parent shall not be payable or enforceable as child support. The probation division shall not be required to provide any establishment, monitoring or enforcement of such maintenance or reimbursement order.

Furthermore, the Rule provides that a child support obligation payable to the Division of Child Protection and Permanency (DCP&P) for children in an out-of-home placement shall not be terminated by operation of law upon the child turning 19 years of age. A child support obligation payable to DCP&P shall terminate upon notification that the child is no longer in placement or upon the child turning 23 years of age, whichever occurs first.

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