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Can child support be terminated early?

On Behalf of | Nov 9, 2022 | Family Law

Child support is designed to pay for the child’s needs until they reach age 18, or, in some cases, permanently if the child is disabled and unable to support themselves. However, some parents in New Jersey might encounter a situation where they consider terminating child support. For child support to be terminated early, a court would have to issue a decree after considering if it is in the child’s best interest to do so.

When a child seeks emancipation

One reason for ending support payments is if the child becomes emancipated from the custodial parent. For emancipation to happen, the court would consider a set of factors, including the child’s age and their ability to support themselves. In that case, a non-custodial parent might petition to stop child support, and the court would review the case to determine whether child support can cease.

When a parent’s situation changes

Another reason a parent might seek to terminate child support is if their situation has changed significantly. While the parent might be tempted to simply stop making payments, experts recommend going back to the court that issued the original order to petition a modification of the order based on the new circumstances. Some of the reasons a parent might want to do so include:

• A decrease in income due to changing jobs or retirement
• A loss of income due to losing a job
• An increase in income due to a promotion, new job or inheritance
• A major change in a family situation, such as the birth of a new child

Some parents might also seek to terminate support payments when conflicts develop between the child and the parent paying support or between the parents. However, it is important to remember that courts consider custody and visitation as separate matters from child support so this type of situation would not be considered a factor.