Blog

What is Emancipation in New Jersey?

As a general matter, New Jersey parents must pay child support until the emancipation of a child. Emancipation is a term that describes the occurrence of an event wherein a child has moved beyond the “sphere of influence” of his or her parents. In other words, emancipation is the act by which a parent relinquishes the right to custody.  As a result, the parent is relieved of the duty to support that child.

Emancipating Events

There are several events that will be an automatic emancipating event:

  • Death of the child
  • Marriage of the child
  • Entry into the military by the child

There are other events that could lead to emancipation, but do not necessarily act as automatic emancipating events:

  • Moving out of mom and/or dad’s residence
  • Obtaining full-time employment
  • Having a child
  • Graduating from college or secondary schooling

At what age does a child become emancipated?

The short answer is that it will always depend on the specific facts and circumstances of each child’s situation. In New Jersey, there is no bright-line rule as to what age emancipation occurs. That being said, a rebuttable presumption exists against emancipation prior to the attainment of the age of majority.  The age of age majority in New Jersey is 18 years old. Attainment of age 18 does establish a prima facie, but not conclusive, proof of emancipation. Entry into secondary schooling is the most common way to rebut that proof of emancipation.  However, it is not the only way to do so. The question will always come down to what is in the best interests of the child and has that child moved beyond his or her parent’s influence to the point that the duty to continue supporting that child should terminate.

Emancipation requires a Court Order

Regardless of the facts and circumstances of your child’s situation, it is always best to consult an attorney to go over those specific facts and circumstances.  This is because emancipation in New Jersey is an area where each case must be weighed on its own merits, taking into consideration what is in the best interests of that child.

It is also imperative to keep in mind that even if there is an automatic emancipating event, or an agreement between the parties that a child is emancipated, a Court Order is still required to effectuate the emancipation.  Likewise, the Court Order ensures that child support arrears do not continue to accrue beyond the emancipation date.

For most children, emancipation will occur on or around their graduation from college, trade/vocational school or the like. However, there is also the possibility that a child may never be emancipated from their parents.  In these circumstances, such as a disability, the child is financially dependent on his/her parents for their entire lives.

New Jersey Child Support Statute is Not an Emancipation Statute

Please keep in mind that the recently enacted Child Support statute, N.J.S.A. § 2A:17-56.67 to 56.73 (2017), is not an Emancipation Statute. A common misunderstanding, among parties and practitioners alike, is that this relatively new statute terminates child support when a child reaches the age of 19. Or, if a parent requests and the court grants permission for the obligation to remain administered until the child reaches the age of 23. This statute only addresses child support administered through the New Jersey Probation Division. It does not end child support altogether. Rather, it merely converts it to a direct pay obligation. An emancipation determination is still required in order for a child to be deemed emancipated.

Emancipation in New Jersey can be complex. So, please contact us if you have any questions about this blog or other family law matters.

Back to Blog
SHARE THIS POST:

Related Posts

Blog
Your New Jersey Child Custody Trial

Preparing for a Child Custody Hearing Ending a New Jersey marriage can be an emotionally and financially challenging process in many ways. For many parents, child custody is the most important issue addressed during the divorce. By working with a New Jersey family law attorney, you can prepare for your child custody hearing in order…

Read More
Blog
Would “Bird-Nesting” Work for Our Family After the Divorce?

“Nesting” for Child Custody: Pros and Cons When New Jersey parents decide to divorce, they may be most concerned with how their decision will affect their children. Kids’ lives can easily be disrupted by their parents’ divorce, especially when the family home is sold and they must go back and forth between their parents for…

Read More
Blog
New Jersey Child Custody and Cannabis Use

How Could Marijuana Affect Your Child Custody Case? New Jersey parents may be concerned about how cannabis consumption could affect their child custody case, especially after the marijuana legalization legislation that went into effect in 2021. While substance use or abuse may be considered by the family courts when determining child custody and parental rights,…

Read More
Blog
Vaccination Disputes and New Jersey Child Custody

Legal Child Custody and Vaccinations in New Jersey With the rise in attention to vaccinations accompanying the COVID-19 pandemic as well as increased publicity given to the “anti-vax” movement and vaccine naysayers, disputes over child vaccination may become more prominent in family law matters. The COVID vaccines are currently available for children aged 12 and…

Read More
Blog
How Domestic Violence Affects Your Custody Case

The Impact of Domestic Violence on Child Custody Roughly 20 people every minute suffer domestic abuse at the hands of their partner. When there are children in the picture, it could impact custody and parenting time. Here is how a court will treat allegations or a conviction of domestic violence when making decisions that will…

Read More
Blog
How Relocation Works in Custody Cases

Out of State Relocation for New Jersey Parents In a 2017 decision, the New Jersey Supreme Court drastically changed the law that applies to out-of-state relocation with a child after a divorce. Both parents should know how the law now works and their rights in case one parent wants to move out of state with…

Read More

Disclaimer and information can be found here, including links to descriptions and selection methodologies. No aspect of this advertisement has been approved by the Supreme Court of New Jersey.
Call Now ButtonCall Us