Child support provides basic necessities like food, shelter, medical care and education for growing children. Payments typically end when your child is grown and financially independent.
However, not all children are able to become financially independent. A child with a disability may need your care and support after reaching adulthood. In this situation, you may be able to continue receiving financial support for your adult child.
Understanding the law
In New Jersey, child support generally ends when the child turns 19. Support may end sooner if the child dies, marries or enlists in the military. Child support might continue through the child’s post-secondary education or until another date specified in the court order, but generally, a child support order can not extend beyond the child’s 23rd birthday.
However, New Jersey child support laws allow some exceptions to this rule. A 2020 amendment to the law allows for the continuation of child support or conversion to another form of financial support after the child’s 23rd birthday. The court will only allow this in special circumstances, such as a severe mental or physical disability.
Requesting continuation of support
If your child’s disability requires him or her to be financially dependent on you, you might be able to continue receiving financial support from your child’s other parent after your child turns 23.
Before your child support order ends, both parents will receive a notice in the mail. This notice should include instructions for filing a written request for continuation. Your child can also petition the court for financial maintenance from a parent if he or she is over 23. To qualify, your child’s disability must have existed before he or she turned 23.
When caring for a dependent adult, it is important to know your rights and the resources available to you.