While there are endless positives that come from ending a bad marriage, one difficult aspect can be determining how best to financially support any children involved. In order to ensure that a child’s basic needs are met, the non-custodial parent often must pay child support.

Only four states in the U.S. have no legal age at which child support payments must end, and New Jersey is one of them. This can sometimes undermine the intention of child support payments, causing them to go on longer than necessary. This can turn the payments into a financial burden for the parent paying child support. A bill to set specific end points for child support passed through the Senate Judiciary Committee near the end of March.

The bill would limit child support payments by ending them under certain circumstances. Should the bill pass, a parent would no longer be legally obligated to pay child support if a child marries, reaches 19 years of age, joins the military before turning 19 or dies before reaching the age of 19. Passage of the bill could have the added benefit of saving parents and courts from going through lengthy legal procedures to establish a date for the end of child support payments.

Whether you agree with this bill or not, it could become law in New Jersey. If the bill becomes law, it may drastically change the long-term landscape of divorce proceedings that involve children and child support. Should the bill move through the legislative process and become a law that stipulates when child support payments end, courts will still evaluate circumstances during a divorce to set a fair and reasonable monthly payment to ensure the child’s well-being.

Source: PolitickerNJ, “TURNER-SCUTARI BILL CLARIFYING CHILD SUPPORT PAYMENTS CLEARS COMMITTEE,” jrenshaw, March 24, 2014