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Emancipation of Minors

NJ Family Law Firm for the Emancipation of Minors 


Emancipation is the age at which a child is considered an adult and is no longer in need of financial support, and or need parents support in making decisions for their best interest. As such, once a child is declared emancipated as a minor, a parent no longer has a child support obligation for that child, and also cannot legally make decisions for that child. In New Jersey, the presumptive age (not a set age) of emancipation, also known as the age of majority, is 18 years old. But this is a presumption that can be challenged, and often times a child will not be emancipated at 18 or even upon graduation from High school.

At the NJ family law firm of Helmer, Conley & Kasselman, P.A., our family attorneys can assist you in determining whether or not your child should be emancipated. Each case is decided on its own merits.Therefore, it is important to consult with an experienced NJ family lawyer. To prove that a child is emancipated, the moving party must present a good case to the judge to explain why emancipation must be granted.

What is Needed for a Minor to be Emancipated in New Jersey?

To emancipate a child, one of the parents must ask the court to end or change the support order, or both parents can agree and sign a request to cease any child support. The emancipation of a child does not excuse the payment of arrears that have accumulated.

A parent has a legal obligation to pay for child support until he or she is emancipated. The family courts routinely continue child support until the child completes college or other types of secondary education. Therefore, it is not unusual for a parent to support a child through his or her early 20's, as they attend some form of secondary education. The termination of child support by law can / usually occurs upon the following: child's death, a termination of parental rights, the child gets married, the child joins the armed forces, the child graduates from high school and does not want to attend college or other secondary education, or the child obtains full time employment.

The emancipation of a child is reached when the fundamental dependent relationship between the parent and the child is concluded, both financially and in need of the parent’s support in making decisions. Every case is always fact-sensitive and the essential inquiry is whether the child has moved beyond the sphere of influence and responsibility of his or her parents. Moreover, the child must obtain an independent status of her or her own.

My child is 18 and has finished High School and is not going to college, can the parent paying support file to end support?

If the child is at least 18 and has finished High School an application (called a motion) can be filed by the parent paying the child support to have the child declared emancipated. The current law on child support sets the end date of the support at 19 years old, unless the party receiving support files a motion to keep child support for reasons such as the child has not completed High School yet, the child is in some form of secondary education like college, or the child has some form of physical or mental disability.

My child is attending a trade school not college after they graduated High School, do I still have to pay child support?

Yes, if the child is attending secondary education (including college, trade schools etc.) the support obligation in some form and amount will most likely continue based on may factors including if the attendance is full time, how many months of the year the program lasts, is the child boarding either on or off campus etc.

My child is not yet 18, but has moved out of the house are they emancipated?

If a child who is under 18 years old moves out of the family home and is living on their own or with another and supporting themselves, they can be considered an emancipated minor and an application can be made to declare them emancipated and to end child support.

Contact a New Jersey Lawyer at Helmer Legal to Discuss the Emancipation of a Minor 

At the NJ family law firm of Helmer, Conley & Kasselman, P.A., our attorneys can assist you in determining whether or not your child should be emancipated. We can also help determine what your remaining child support obligation might be if you have one child who is emancipated but another who remains unemancipated. Since child support is based on a complex calculation based on many situations, it is important to seek the assistance of an attorney to see if your child support should be recalculated or discontinued based on the emancipation of a child.  We, at Helmer, Conley & Kasselman, P.A., can help.


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