Q: Dependent turns 23 halfway through 5th College year. How likely is Court to order College payments through the year
New Jersey Divorce. Settlement agreement stipulates and we have been splitting College payments 60/40. Dependent daughter unexpectedly has to take an extra (at least) college year, agreement makes no provision for extra College year and she turns 23 in January. I have no contact with her and want to stop paying on 23rd birthday. however child support never went through probate, PSA simply had me making payments directly to school or her mother. Do I Stand On Solid Ground cutting her off on 23rd birthday?
A: Thank you for your question. Your Final Judgment of Divorce or (if your case settled) Marital Settlement Agreement should have a definition of emancipation within it. Often the definition will say the child support is not to extend past the child's 23rd under any circumstance and if the said language is included, even though your child is yet to complete college, you have a right to cease child support. If there is not a definition of child support cessation, there is a good chance that a court would order you to continue to pay child support as, technically, as she still in college, your child is not "emancipated." Certainly, there can be extenuating circumstances, inclusive of whether the child is attending college full-time or part-time. As such, I strongly suggest that you consult with a Family Law attorney to make sure that your rights are protected.
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