SENATE, No. 428

STATE OF NEW JERSEY

214th LEGISLATURE

 

PRE-FILED FOR INTRODUCTION IN THE 2010 SESSION

 


 

Sponsored by:

Senator  SHIRLEY K. TURNER

District 15 (Mercer)

 

 

 

 

SYNOPSIS

     Clarifies factors used to determine when child support orders can be terminated.

 

CURRENT VERSION OF TEXT

     Introduced Pending Technical Review by Legislative Counsel

  


An Act concerning child support and supplementing chapter 17 of Title 2A of the New Jersey Statutes.

 

     Be It Enacted by the Senate and General Assembly of the State of New Jersey:

 

     1.    a.  An order to pay support for a child terminates upon a determination by the court that the child is emancipated or if one or more of the following factors exist:

     (1)   the child reaches the age of 18 or graduates from high school, whichever occurs later;

     (2)   the child marries;

     (3)   the child enters military service;

     (4)   the child is no longer attending high school or a post-secondary education program and is employed full-time;

     (5)   the child fails to provide the parent responsible for paying support for the child with copies of all course grades and transcripts relating to the child's post-secondary education degree, program or course of study within a reasonable period of time after the child receives them, if that parent is contributing to the child's post-secondary education expenses; or

     (6)   the child dies.

     b.    The court may extend an order to pay support for a child over the age of 18 if:

     (1)   the child is not married and is financially dependent on the person responsible for paying support for the child because of a mental or physical disability that existed prior to the child's reaching the age of 18;

     (2)   the child is enrolled in and attending a post-secondary education program; or

     (3)   the court finds that exceptional circumstances exist to justify an extension of the support order.

     c.     The provisions of this act shall not supersede any court order or judgment that requires a person to pay support for a child beyond the age of 18.

 

     2.    a.  Upon identifying or being informed of the existence of any of the factors listed in subsection a. of section 1 of this act, the Probation Division of the Superior Court shall initiate an action to terminate an order to pay support for a child.

     The Probation Division shall initiate the action to terminate the support order by notifying the person receiving support on behalf of the child, by delivery of written notice by regular mail to the most recent residential or employer address filed with the Probation Division for the person of the proposed termination.  The notice shall also inform the person of the right to file a written objection to the proposed termination of the support order with the Probation Division, within 30 days of the date of the notice.

     b.    The court may terminate an order to pay support for a child without further notice or hearing if:

     (1)   no written objection to the termination of the support order is received by the Probation Division within 30 days of the date of the notice pursuant to subsection a. of this section; and

     (2)   the Probation Division has complied with the procedures for terminating a support order established pursuant to this act.

     c.     A person receiving support on behalf of a child may file an application with the court to reinstate a support order that is terminated by the court pursuant to the provisions of this act if:

     (1)   the person did not receive the notice mailed pursuant to subsection a. of this section; or

     (2)   the child is entitled to continuing support.

 

     3.    When there is an unallocated support order for two or more children and the order to pay support for one of the children is terminated by the court pursuant to the provisions of this act, the amount of the support order in effect immediately prior to the effective date of the termination of the order shall remain in effect for the other children until:

     a.     the person responsible for paying support for the children files a motion with the court seeking an adjustment of the support amount to accommodate the reduction in the number of dependent children; and

     b.    the court modifies the support amount, as appropriate.

 

     4.    a.  If an order to pay support for a child is terminated by the court pursuant to the provisions of this act, any arrearages that have accrued prior to the effective date of the termination of the order shall remain in effect.

     b.    If a person responsible for paying support for a child owes any child support arrearages at the time a support order is terminated by the court and there are no other children being supported by the same order, the amount of the support or arrearage payment order in effect immediately prior to the effective date of the termination of the order shall become the amount the person shall pay toward the arrearage, unless otherwise ordered by the court.  The Probation Division shall continue to enforce the arrearage amount until the arrearages are paid in full or the court, in accordance with federal law and regulations, terminates the Probation Division's supervision of the support order.

 

     5.    The provisions of this act shall not apply to the child support provisions contained in orders or judgments entered by a foreign jurisdiction and registered in New Jersey for modification or enforcement pursuant to P.L.1998, c.2 (C.2A:4-30.65 et al.), or a law or procedure substantially similar to the "Uniform Reciprocal
Enforcement of Support Act," or the "Revised Uniform Reciprocal Enforcement of Support Act."

 

     6.    Nothing in this act shall:

     a.     require a parent to pay support for a child while the child is enrolled in a post-secondary education program;

     b.    relieve a parent from the obligation to pay support for a child while the child is enrolled in a post-secondary education program;

     c.     prohibit the Probation Division from seeking to terminate its supervision of a child support order in accordance with procedures provided under federal law and regulations; or

     d.    prohibit a party from filing a motion with the court seeking the termination of an order to pay support for a child or emancipation of a child for any cause other than those provided by this act.

 

     7.    a.  The Supreme Court of the State of New Jersey may adopt Rules of Court appropriate or necessary to effectuate the purposes of this act.

     b.    The Commissioner of Human Services may adopt rules and regulations pursuant to the "Administrative Procedure Act," P.L.1968, c.410 (C.52:14B-1 et seq.) to effectuate the purposes of this act.

 

     8.    This act shall take effect immediately and shall be applicable to all support orders supervised by the Probation Division issued prior to, on or after the effective date of this act.

 

 

STATEMENT

 

     This bill specifies the factors that shall be used to determine when an order to pay support for a child can be terminated. Under the provisions of the bill, a support order shall be terminated upon a determination by the court that a child is emancipated or if one or more of the following factors exists:

·        the child reaches the age of 18 or graduates from high school, whichever occurs later;

·        the child marries;

·        the child enters military service;

·        the child is no longer attending high-school or a post-secondary education program and is employed full-time;

·        the child fails to provide the parent responsible for paying support for the child with copies of all course grades and transcripts relating to the child's post-secondary education degree, program or course of study within a reasonable period of time after the child receives them, if that parent is contributing to the child's post-secondary education expenses; or

·        the child dies.

     The bill allows the court to extend an order to pay support for a child over the age of 18 if:

·        the child is not married and is financially dependent on the person responsible for paying support because of a mental or physical disability that existed prior to the child's reaching the age of 18;

·        the child is enrolled in and attending a post-secondary education program; or

·        the court finds that exceptional circumstances exist to justify an extension of the support order.

     The bill provides, however, that its provisions shall not supersede any court order or judgment that requires a person to pay support for a child beyond the age of 18.

     Under the provisions of the bill, upon identifying or being informed of the existence of any of the factors listed above, the Probation Division shall initate an action to terminate  a child support order.  The Probation Division shall initiate the action by notifying the person receiving support on behalf of the child of the proposed termination by mail.  The notice shall also inform the person of the right to file a written objection to the proposed termination of the support order with the Probation Division, within 30 days of the date of the notice.

     The court shall terminate an order to pay support for a child without further notice or hearing if:

·        no written objection to the termination of the order is received by the Probation Division within 30 days of the date of the notice; and

·        the Probation Division has complied with the procedures for terminating a support order established in the bill.

     A person receiving support on behalf of a child may file an application with the court to reinstate a support order terminated by the court if the person does not receive the mailed notice or the child is entitled to continuing support.

     The bill also provides that when there is an unallocated support order for two or more children and the order to pay support for one of the children is terminated, the amount of the support order in effect immediately prior to the effective date of the termination of the order shall remain in effect for the other children until:

·        the person responsible for paying child support files a motion with the court seeking an adjustment of the support amount to accommodate the reduction in the number of children; and

·        the court modifies the support amount, as appropriate.

     The provisions of the bill also provide that if an order to pay support is terminated by the court, any arrearages that have accrued prior to the effective date of the termination of the order shall remain in effect.

     If a person responsible for paying child support owes any child support arrearages at the time a support order is terminated and there are no other children being supported by the same order, the amount of the support and arrearage payment order in effect immediately prior to the termination of the support order shall become the amount the person shall pay toward the child support arrearages, unless otherwise ordered by the court. The Probation Division shall continue to enforce that amount until the arrearages are paid in full or the court terminates the Probation Division's supervision of the support order.

     Finally the bill provides that:

·        its provisions shall not apply to child support provisions contained in orders or judgments entered by a foreign jurisdiction and registered in New Jersey for modification or enforcement pursuant to N.J.S.A.2A:4-30.65  et al., or a law or procedure substantially similar to the "Uniform Reciprocal Enforcement of Support Act," or the "Revised Uniform Reciprocal Enforcement of Support Act;" and

·        its provisions shall not: require a parent to pay support for a child while the child is enrolled in a post-secondary education program; relieve a parent from the obligation to pay support for a child while the child is enrolled in a post-secondary education program; prohibit the Probation Division from seeking to terminate its supervision of a child support order; or prohibit a party from filing a motion with the court seeking the termination of a support order or emancipation of a child for any cause other than those provided in the bill.