In New Jersey, either parents or children can seek emancipation of a child. Emancipation is the legal process by which a child is allowed to make his or her own decisions, but is no longer entitled to child support from the parents. Whether a child should or should not be emancipated is fact-sensitive, and a skilled family law attorney can advance various arguments for why emancipation is or is not appropriate in a particular case. The Monmouth County emancipation lawyers at Goldstein Law Group can assist New Jersey residents with pursuing or resisting emancipation, according to their needs.Requirements for Establishing Emancipation
Emancipation is often initiated because a parent wants to stop paying child support for the benefit of a child who works full-time, is married, or is otherwise self-supporting. Under N.J.S.A. 9:17B-3, when a person reaches 18 years of age, he or she is deemed to be an adult. However, this is a rebuttable presumption, which can be refuted with evidence showing the 18-year-old is not truly financially independent or has a disability.
Either a child or an adult can file a motion with a New Jersey court to grant emancipation. The court will examine the circumstances of the case to decide whether a child is truly independent and to what extend he or she may still depend on the parent. Among other things, the court will consider the child's needs, the family's expectations, the child's independent resources including income, and the parents' financial abilities.
Some common scenarios in which children become emancipated include pregnancy or having a baby, marriage, entering the military, and living independently. With regard to the last scenario, the court will consider whether the parents consent to the emancipation and whether the child is truly financially independent. Often, parents contest a minor's request to be emancipated on the grounds that the child still takes or borrows money from them. The court can remove a minor's emancipated status if the child is not truly financially independent.
Divorced parents can arrange to have emancipation automatically occur at 18 by putting a specific provision to this effect in their child support agreement or the court's child support order requiring the payment of child support. If there is no provision for emancipation in an earlier order or child support agreement, however, courts often do order continued support or expenses for a child going to college.
In many New Jersey courts, the court will find that a college student still needs financial support from a parent, even if the child is living on campus and works part-time. However, a parent would have a strong case for emancipation if the child were working full-time and making a reasonable amount of money.Consult an Emancipation Lawyer in Monmouth County
The Monmouth County emancipation attorneys at Goldstein Law Group can help people in this complex situation understand their rights and obligations. We recognize that emancipation proceedings may be sensitive for many members of a family, and we try to alleviate your concerns. Our main office is located in Old Bridge, and we have a satellite office in Freehold. Many of our clients come from Manalapan, East Brunswick, and Rumson, among other communities. Contact us at 732-967-6777 or via our online form for a free consultation with a divorce attorney.