Parents work hard to provide their children with the upbringing that will serve the children’s best interest. While parents are in a committed relationship or married, they work together to achieve what is best. After a relationship or marriage disintegrates, the parties will have to learn to co-parent without the benefit of sharing a residence. In addition to a visitation and custody order, the court will also enter an order for child support. Child support is set in New Jersey according to exact laws, requiring the inclusion of both parents’ incomes, whether the parties have other outstanding child support, and a myriad of other factors. One issue that many parents want to understand is how long child support will last, and whether the child support will last until after the age of eighteen.
New Jersey has one of the most expansive child support laws in the country. In most other states, child support ends when the child turns eighteen or graduates high school, whichever comes later. In New Jersey, however, a parent can be ordered to continue to help support the child while he or she is attending college. It is important to note that the court will not order support for college in every case. Instead, the court will examine what are known as the Newburgh factors, so named for the important case Newburgh v. Arrigo, 88 N.J. 529 (1982) that first established these factors. The factors a court will consider encompass a wide variety of issues. One of the most important factors will be whether the paying parent has the ability to pay for college costs. The child may seek to attend a highly rated private college, but a court is unlikely to order complete payment of tuition if that would bankrupt the paying parent. The court will also consider other issues, such as the financial resources of the child, the ability of the child to earn income during higher education, and the financial resources of the other parent, just to name a few.
Note that a parent may continue to pay child support after the child turns eighteen in the circumstance that the child is permanently disabled in such a way as to prevent the child from ever living independently.
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