The New Jersey Legislature has recently enacted N.J.S.A. 2A:17-56.67, which will officially go into effect on February 17, 2017. Under this new statute, a parent’s obligation to pay child support will automatically terminate when a child reaches age 19, unless the court orders otherwise. Even with a Court-ordered extension of child support, a parent’s obligation should not extend beyond the child’s 23rd birthday. The statute provides that a child who is 23 or older may be able to file a motion seeking an order requiring their parent to pay other forms of financial maintenance.
In a recent case coming out of Ocean County, J.C. v. A.C., the trial court was faced with deciding whether a child, who would turn 23 shortly after achieving a bachelor’s degree, was entitled to continue to receive financial support from a parent for graduate school. Judge Lawrence Jones examined the new statute with the facts of this case and recognized that the Legislature “left the door open” about whether a parent could be obligated to contribute another form of financial support for the child going on to obtain graduate education.