A child support order will terminate once the child becomes emancipated. Emancipation basically means that the child can take care of themselves. Because self-reliance can occur at any age and under any given set of facts, there is no set age when a child will be determined to be emancipated. Many people erroneously believe that once the child turns 18 then their child support ends. This is not the case in New Jersey. The State of New Jersey has some of the strictest child support laws in the United States.
In most property settlement agreements the parties will delineate as to what events or circumstances will define an emancipation. When an agreement does not exist, the courts generally will presume that a child becomes emancipated at the age of 18. The Child Support Guidelines do not apply to a child who is 18 years or older and no longer in high school or any other secondary educational institution. A child often will be declared emancipated when the child marries or if the child has his or her own child. Additionally, a child may be declared emancipated if he or she enters into the military.