Your Guide to Emancipation in New Jersey

Contrary to popular belief, child emancipation in New Jersey does not automatically occur on the 18th birthday. While age creates a presumption of emancipation, parents can challenge it for several reasons.

In some cases, you will need to take legal action to change your child’s emancipation status, especially if you wish to change your child support order.

If your current settlement agreement does not include language about when your child support will end, contact an experienced family lawyer to learn about your options.

Everything You Need to Know: Emancipation in New Jersey

Under normal circumstances, parents are legally and monetarily responsible for their children until at least their 18th birthday and/or the child graduates from high school. However, the emancipation of a minor can occur under several conditions.

Emancipation occurs automatically if a minor, or a child under 18, joins the military or gets married. If he or she has a child of his or her own or is attending college part-time, the court will consider an emancipation request.

After emancipation, a child is no longer entitled to monetary support from their parents, including child support.

Child Support and Emancipation

In New Jersey, a law in 2017 clarified child support and emancipation requirements. Child support automatically ends when your child turns 19, with several notable exceptions. Even with these exceptions, child support cannot legally continue after the child turns 23.

The custodial parent can submit a request for child support to continue past the age of 19 under several circumstances. These include if the child is still enrolled in high school or is studying at a college or trade school full time, or suffers from a physical or mental disability.

The court will also consider other extenuating circumstances, as long as the written request is submitted correctly.

Challenging Continued Child Support

Sometimes, the custodial and paying parent will disagree on whether a child can live independently. The paying parent can submit a request to end child support if the child is over the age of 19.

The court will decide if the child can be independent or requires continued parental support.

In any case, child support ends in New Jersey when the child turns 23. A child who, mainly due to physical or mental disabilities, is still unable to live independently, may still receive other types of support after the age of 23.

Settlement Agreement and Child Support

Because child support automatically ends at 19, your settlement agreement should include any extensions. If your child is planning on attending college or trade school full-time, it is essential to discuss how long the order will continue.

Work with your attorney to ensure that any agreements concerning child support are in complete compliance with New Jersey law.

Changing Your Child’s Emancipation Status

If you wish to change your child’s emancipation status, particularly in regards to your child support order, consider working with a dedicated family attorney. Lyons & Associates, P.C. attorneys have a wealth of experience in child support cases and can answer all your questions about emancipation in New Jersey. Contact our law firm online or call us today at (908) 575-9777 to set up your free consultation.