Emancipation Laws in NJ

Like many aspects of family law, the law on emancipation is rather vague.  A good rule of thumb is whether or not the child is in school.  If the child graduates from high school and is 18 but is not going to coImage result for lawyer weight scalellege, a strong case can be made for emancipation.  If the child graduates or drops out of college, a strong case could also be made.  Of course, it is never really that simple and lawyers make things even more complicated, unless you have one on your side!

Here is what the courts say on the issue:

Generally, “emancipation is the act by which a parent relinquishes the right to custody and is relieved of the duty to support a child.” Newburgh, supra, 88 N.J. at 543. In New Jersey, there is no fixed age when emancipation occurs. Gac v. Gac, 186 N.J. 535, 542 (2006). While a rebuttable presumption against emancipation occurs prior to reaching the age of majority, N.J.S.A. 9:17B-3, attainment of age eighteen establishes prima facie, but not conclusive, proof of emancipation. Ibid. For example, emancipation may occur upon a child’s marriage, upon induction into military service, by court order based on a child’s best interest, or by attainment of an appropriate age. Newburgh, supra, 88 N.J. at 543. The issue is fact sensitive. Filippone v. Lee, 304 N.J. Super. 301, 308 (App. Div. 1997).

“[T]he essential inquiry is whether the child has moved ‘beyond the sphere of influence and responsibility exercised by a parent and obtains an independent status of his or her own.'” Ibid. (quoting Bishop v. Bishop, 287 N.J. Super. 593, 598 (Ch. Div. 1995)). This determination requires “a critical evaluation of the prevailing circumstances including the child’s need[s], interests, and independent resources, the family’s reasonable expectations, and the parties’ financial ability, among other things.” Dolce v. Dolce, 383 N.J. Super. 11, 18 (App. Div. 2006).

That doesn’t really help, does it?  Worse yet, you can present one set of facts to two judges and probably get three (yes, three) different results.  From handling many of these motions, I’ve learned that the best way to approach these motion is to just keep fighting.  That’s often how I win the tough ones.

  1. Dorene Hartman

    can you tell me are there different laws / rules for a pregnant 17 year old?
    is this child automatically emancipated?
    please reply
    thank you in advance for your time.

    • whitecollarcrimenews

      I suggest you give me a call to discuss this as your question is a little vague. But emancipation is emancipation. If you are asking if a 17 year old can be emancipated just because she is pregnant, I would say that I just had a case like that and the court held that she was not. Of course, every case is different. I could probably come up with some decent arguments to win that type of motion from the other side too.

  2. IF a 2009 graduate is retroactively emancipated back to 2005 (when still a full time student)so that NCP gets CS reimbursement
    THEN would health insurance provided by PCP become void retrocatively to same date 2005 – as emancipated would imply that child was not entitled to health coverage during those years.
    Lovely site – thanks so much for the information. Stuck w/ in-law atty… hmph.

    • whitecollarcrimenews

      Support is support, so everything stops. Of course, trying to get money back in these case is very tough.

  3. My 20 yr old son was attending the University of Central Florida part time, and has now moved back to New Jersey, resides by himself and seeking employment. He is not sure about what he wants to do for the future and this hiatis could be months. I have filed for emancipation. Do you think New Jersey will emancipate him?

  4. How come i can not have my child emanciapted when he has told me he is not attending school full time and i continue to pay over 700 a month more then his father is paying. He does not live in my residence nor his fathers has been 18 since july. And why can you not get any help with child support issues for a reasonable fee.. This is making me have to lose my house and eventually my job will have to go then what and how will he get paid….

    • whitecollarcrimenews

      When you go to court without an attorney, everything seems to go wrong. Out of all the horror stories I hear about, 90% involve someone without an attorney. My fees are very reasonable.

      • Never said fees were reasonable…Just if i have that kind of money i wouldn’t need a lawyer..I can not afford 4 grand out of pocket..Am getting screwed to the wall here and have NOTHING left….

  5. If emancipation is granted, does health insurance coverage stop as well as child support?

  6. Yearsofsupport

    You mentioned that emancipation ends all support but with the new laws you are able to emancipate and still keep them on them on your insurance until 26 correct?
    Also in NJ if the child is 23 working part time is there a limit how long they can continue to work on the same degree for example 5 years on a two year degree?

    • Emancipation has to do with support obligations in New Jersey and has nothing to do with insurance companies. Thus, I don’t see how there is any change even though the age has changed. With regard to your second question, there is no set date for emancipation. Thus, the child “could” be 43, 33 or 23. I think it is just about impossible to take 12 credits and still take 5 years to get a 2 year degree.

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