If My Child Has a Job, Do I Still Need to Pay Child Support?

If My Child Has a Job, Do I Still Need to Pay Child Support?

In New Jersey, both of a child's parents are supposed to make emotional and financial contributions toward raising their child. Each parent has an obligation to provide financial support for their child, including both the parent with primary residential custody and the non-custodial parent. The parent with whom the child most frequently lives will typically receive child support payments each month from the other parent, but the primary custodial parent is still expected to support their child. When a parent has the child most of the time, the courts recognize there are extra daily living expenses involved that the residential custodian is presumed to have.

If you are the obligor (the parent obligated to pay support) and have dutifully made child support payments for years, you might wonder when your obligation will end. If your child gets a job, you might think that your child support should be reduced or terminated. Here is what you should know from a child support lawyer in New Jersey at the Ziegler Law Group, LLC about whether your child's employment might affect your child support.

Can My Child Support Payments Be Reduced or Terminated if My Child Gets a Job?

If your child is a teenager who gets a part-time job while still attending high school, their job will not affect your child support payment. Money a teenager earns from a part-time job while attending high school is considered money to fund the child's recreational activities instead of their basic expenses of daily living. A court will not grant a motion to modify your child support payments or to terminate your child support just because of your teen's part-time job.

Similarly, if your child is a full-time college student with a part-time job, the court is unlikely to terminate your child support payments if the other parent's request for continued support beyond age 19 was granted. The court can order child support to continue until your child graduates from college or turns age 23 as long as your child maintains full-time enrollment in a trade school, two-year community college, or four-year university.

What if My Child Moves Away From Home, is Working Full-Time, and is Self-Supporting?

Child support will automatically terminate once your child turns 19 as long as the parent with primary custody doesn't file a request for continued support. Child support will also end if your child enters the military, gets married, or becomes emancipated.

If your child is emancipated and is fully self-supporting through a full-time job while living away from home, you can file a motion to terminate child support with the court. You will need to present evidence of your child's emancipation if they are younger than age 19.

Similarly, if your child enlisted in the military after graduating from high school or getting a GED, your child support should end. You might need to submit evidence of your child's enlistment and graduation or GED.

Why Child Support Doesn't End Just Because a Child Gets a Job

Under the Fair Labor Standards Act (FLSA), the federal government has established labor standards for the employment of children younger than age 18. Children can't work before they are at least 14, and those younger than age 18 can only work with restrictions. New Jersey similarly has child labor laws that set significant restrictions on the employment of minors younger than age 18.

Children who are 14 or 15 can't work before 7 am or after 7 pm. During the school year, they can't work more than three hours per day during the school week or more than 18 hours per week in total. They can work up to 40 hours per week or eight hours per day during the summer break. Those who are 16 or 17 can work between the hours of 6 am and 11 pm and can be employed full-time when they are not in school. Minors under the age of 18 are also restricted from certain jobs involving machinery and others.

The state and federal governments restrict employment for minors because they are still developing and also because of their recognized need for education. Similarly, the family courts make decisions that are in the best interests of the child. Prioritizing a child's education is considered to be in a child's best interests in most cases, and the courts don't want children to be forced into the workforce full-time instead of attending school as a means to terminate a parent's obligation to pay child support.

When Does Child Support End?

Child support automatically ends when a child turns 19 unless the custodial parent files a request for the continuance of child support before the child reaches their 19th birthday. Child support can be continued past age 19 for the following reasons:

  • The child is still attending high school after age 19
  • The child enrolls in and attends college or a trade school full-time
  • The child has a mental or physical disability that requires their continued dependence on their parents for support
  • The child is in an out-of-home foster care placement under the state's custody

Even when child support is extended past age 19, it will typically end when the child reaches age 23. However, if a child continues to require support because of a severe mental or physical disability, support can continue.

Child support can end before the child turns 19 if the child becomes fully emancipated and self-supporting through a full-time job, gets married, or enters the military. In most cases, a teenager's job will not pay enough to make them fully self-supporting since jobs for minors have restrictions and typically pay minimum wage.

Other reasons the obligation to pay child support might end include the following:

  • The parents resume living together in a relationship
  • The child passes away
  • The child moves into the home of the parent who is ordered to pay support

If a child's custody has changed so that the child lives most of the time with the parent who was ordered to pay support, that parent can file a motion to modify the custody and child support orders to reflect the change in circumstances. In that situation, the child's other parent will become the non-custodial parent and might be ordered to pay child support instead.

Does Child Support Decrease When My Child Gets Older?

Child support payments do not decrease just because your child gets older. The monthly support payments will continue as ordered until child support automatically terminates at age 19 or when your child becomes emancipated, marries, or joins the military. You must continue making your child support payments as ordered until your obligation ends or you obtain a modification of your child support order.

If there have been significant changes in your financial circumstances or parenting time since the order was issued, you can file a motion with the court to modify your child support. However, until you receive a modification, you must continue making your payments according to your current order.

Get Help From a Child Support Lawyer in New Jersey

If you need to modify your support order because of changes in your financial circumstances or changes in parenting time, you should talk to the attorneys at the Ziegler Law Group, LLC. We can review your situation and give you an honest assessment of your case. Call us to schedule a consultation at (973) 533-1100.

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