Emancipation of Children Lawyer in Cherry Hill, NJ
Reputable Family Lawyer Represents Clients in Cases Involving Emancipation of Children Throughout Southern New Jersey
Emancipation of children is essentially the changing of an individual’s legal status from child to adult. Emancipation is important for a variety of reasons, but can be a primary factor in determining whether one parent remains obligated to pay child support to a former spouse. After a minor child has been emancipated, a presumption that he or she is financially independent arises to relieve the parents of providing financial support. After emancipation, the parents are also no longer able to make decisions for the child.
Emancipation of children typically becomes important when one parent believes that he or she should be relieved of child support obligations with respect to the child. Historically, New Jersey had taken a facts-and-circumstances approach to determine whether a child is financially independent, and thus emancipated, at age 18. Parents were entitled to present evidence to rebut, or contradict, the presumption that a child was emancipated at age 18, so that emancipation was not automatic or mandatory at age 18.
At The Law Offices of Lois G. Schwartz, I understand how important it is to make sure your children receive the financial support that they need to succeed in life. The laws governing child support and emancipation issues have recently changed in New Jersey, making it more necessary than ever to retain an experienced Cherry Hill emancipation of children lawyer to advocate on your behalf. If you have questions regarding your continuing child support obligations, or the emancipation of your child, contact my office today to discuss your case.
New Jersey’s Age-19 Child Emancipation Law
Effective February 1, 2017, New Jersey adopted a new child support emancipation law that provides that a child will be presumed emancipated when the child reaches age 19, marries, dies or enters military service, so that child support obligations will also end at this time. Despite this, parents are entitled to petition to request continued child support until the child reaches age 23 if they are able to show good cause for continuing financial support.
A parent who wishes to contest emancipation at age 19 may typically show that child support should continue if:
- The child is still enrolled in high school or another secondary school program,
- The child is a full-time post-secondary (college) student at some time during any five-month period during the year,
- Before reaching age 19, the child became physically or mentally disabled, and this disability was determined by a federal or state agency,
- Another existing court order provides that child support will terminate after the child reaches age 19, but before age 23, or
- Other exceptional circumstances exist to warrant continued child support.
180 days before the child’s 19th birthday, both parents will receive notice of the impending termination of child support from the New Jersey Probation Division. This notice will explain that child support obligations will terminate at age 19, and specify methods that one parent can use to petition for continued child support (until age 23). The Probation Division will send a second notice 90 days before the child’s 19th birthday if the parents do not respond to the first notice and, if the parents fail to respond to the second notice, child support obligations will automatically terminate at age 19.
Experienced Child Emancipation Lawyer Provides Detailed Guidance on New Jersey’s Emancipation of Children Law
The New Jersey child support/emancipation law does not impact any past due child support amounts (arrearages), meaning that the paying parent remains obligated to make past due child support payments even after the child has turned 19 and become emancipated. Further, parents remain entitled to agree to terminate child support payments earlier than the child’s 19th birthday, and the parents can also agree to continue financial support even after the child has reached age 23. Financial support provided beyond age 23 will not be characterized as child support, however, but the courts can require payments as another form of financial maintenance.
Schedule a Confidential Consultation to Discuss Your Burlington County Child Emancipation Question Today
Navigating the specific set of rules that apply with respect to child support obligations after the emancipation of children can be difficult, and will often require the advice of experienced legal counsel. If you have questions regarding the new law or your child’s right to receive financial support after emancipation, contact my offices via phone call, or by filling out this online form, to schedule a confidential consultation with a reputable child custody lawyer today. My offices are centrally located at 1040 Kings Highway N., Suite 202, Cherry Hill, NJ 08034.
Frequently Asked Questions About Emancipation of Children
Unless one party is able to successfully petition for continuing child support obligations beyond age 19, a party’s child support obligations will terminate when the child reaches age 19 regardless of whether the agreement was reached before the new law became effective early in 2017. However, child support arrangements ordered by a court in another state, but enforced in New Jersey, will continue to apply regardless of the new law.
The answer depends upon whether the child support is allocated between the two children in the agreement. If a set amount is allocated for each child, the amount allocated to the younger child will continue even if the amount allocated to the 19-year-old child is not continued. If the agreement simply provides for a lump sum (it is not allocated between the children), the parent paying the child support must continue to pay the existing child support amount. Either parent is entitled to petition to have this result modified when one child reaches age 19.