Child emancipation in New Jersey is the legal declaration that a child is now considered an independent adult. The process by which children can become emancipated can take many shapes dependent on the wishes and the circumstances of both the children and parents involved. For individuals paying or receiving child support, the emancipation of a child may mark the end of existing obligations. However, there are many other considerations and state laws which govern child support regulations beyond child emancipation.
At Jacobs Berger, our divorce and family law attorneys take pride in offering dynamic and personalized legal solutions for our clients throughout local New Jersey towns and the greater Morris County area. We understand that no two clients are the same just as no two cases are the same, and tailor our services to the needs and concerns of the individual. Our firm is built on the belief that the legal process can be navigated successfully without the unnecessary stress and personal conflict.
Call our office today to speak with a member of our qualified legal team regarding your child support, child emancipation, or any other divorce or family law matter in a confidential and comprehensive Strategic Planning Session.
Child Support Lawyers Define Child Emancipation
Child emancipation is the determination that a child is now legally an adult. In New Jersey, there are several ways by which this determination can be made. In most cases, the parties involved do not seek legal intervention for an early emancipation or an extension. Children or their parents may instead choose to petition the courts for child emancipation for any of the following reasons:
- Financial independence with a full-time job and sufficient income
- Entering into a legal marriage
- Enlisting in the military
- Full independence of the child including moving away from parental home
- Pregnancy or becoming a parent
These reasons may be considered in a petition for child emancipation, but family courts will ultimately decide on whether or not to grant emancipation on a case-by-case basis. Parents are also legally entitled to formally contest the motion of a child for emancipation. Ultimately, the best interests of the child will be the determining factor. Judges will consider the child’s age, their needs and interests, their resources, their employment, their financial abilities, and more.
Child Emancipation Attorneys Discuss Impact on Child Support
If a child is legally emancipated, parents may move to have their child support obligations terminated on the basis that the supported child is no longer legally a “child”. For most cases which involve no formal child emancipation hearings, the age of default child support termination is 19 as of a January 2016 bill. So, what exactly does this mean for child support payors and payees? Most notably, it places a hard cap on child support payments at the age of 23 and it creates the baseline age of child support termination at 19. Of course, there are several exceptions and other considerations.
For example, existing child support agreements may have a specific termination date. If this is the case, the date stated in the agreement will be upheld so long as the termination does not go past the child’s 23rd birthday. This new law also states that if the child marries, enters military service, or dies, child support obligations are automatically terminated. If no termination date is specified, parents may file for a “request for continuation of support” to continue child support beyond age 19 until the age of 23.
Parents may also petition the courts to cease child support obligations based on the emancipation of a child. These petitions are generally successful as emancipated individuals are no longer considered legally children. However, much like hearings to determine child emancipation, these requests will be considered on a case-by-case basis.
Contact our Child Emancipation and Child Support Attorneys Today
The child emancipation and child support attorneys of Jacobs Berger, LLC understand that New Jersey laws regarding the termination of child support can be complex. Our legal team believes in taking the time to understand the unique needs and concerns of each one of our clients, all while explaining their legal standing in understandable, simple terms. We approach each divorce and family law case as an opportunity to help families build a brighter and more stable future. Our child support attorneys take pride in treating our clients with the respect and compassion they deserve in New Jersey.
If you are in need of legal advice and want to skip the hassle of dealing with a large firm who will not take the time to learn your first name, contact us online or through our Morristown offices by calling (973) 710-4366 today for a comprehensive and confidential Strategic Planning Session. A legal representative will be standing by to discuss your child support and/or child emancipation questions and concerns.