Emancipation Lawyer Newton and Sussex County
New Jersey lawyers help children and families handle issues of supervision and child support
If you are paying or receiving child support, an experienced New Jersey family lawyer can assist you with the recent changes in state rules regarding emancipation. Under a law that took effect on February 1, 2017, with a few exceptions, 19 is now the age when parental child support obligations end for nondisabled youths who aren’t full-time students. Previously, there was no set age for emancipation in the state. At Hollander, Strelzik, Pasculli, Hinkes, Wojcik, Gacquin, Vandenberg & Hontz, L.L.C. in Newton, our experienced family law attorneys advise parents on emancipation and how it affects issues such as child support and medical insurance. We will look at your current or pending arrangements to explain how you and your children will be affected.
Knowledgeable advisors assist with emancipation forms and procedures
Noncustodial parents have a legal duty to make child support payments after a divorce occurs or even if they were never married. While this duty has not changed, the new rule has a significant effect on the specific elements of that obligation, including:
- Rights and responsibilities — Child support responsibility ends when a child turns 19 unless the child is attending high school, enrolled as a full-time college student, has a previously identified physical or mental disability that requires child support, or if the parties reached a separate agreement or if continued support is ordered by the Court. However, any payments in arrears must still be paid off. If your Judgment of Divorce (JOD), Marital Settlement Agreement (MSA) or support order specifies a termination date other than the child’s 19th birthday, that date will stand. However, you may receive a termination notice and be asked to send a copy of the JOD, MSA or support order confirming the termination date.
- Burden of proof — Once a son or daughter reaches 19 years of age and the foregoing exceptions do not apply, the new law places the burden of proof on the recipient parent to demonstrate that the youth falls into one of the emancipation exceptions. To demonstrate this, a custodial parent files a Request for Continuation of Support. If no such document is filed, the paying parent can immediately stop sending payments without further action from the court.
- Appeals — If the noncustodial parent disagrees with a decision mandating child support payments beyond the age of 19, the parent is entitled to appeal the ruling.
- Age limit — All child support obligations now end when a son or daughter turns 23 years of age even if they are students and/or within the parents’ “sphere of influence and responsibility.”
As the new law is phased in, some leeway will be given to allow families with children between 18 and 22 to adjust. However, parents of dependents who turn 19 after August 1, 2017 will receive a Notice of Proposed Child Support Obligation Termination 180 days before their child’s 19th birthday. If you have questions about these changes, our family law attorneys can explain how the law applies to you.
Law firms advises clients on the steps needed to emancipate a minor
Minors can file for emancipation in a New Jersey court but they are required to meet strict standards if they wish to terminate their parents’ legal authority. To attain emancipation, a minor must show that they have sufficient financial ability to support themselves and that they are independent of parental control. This sometimes occurs when parents are incapable of caring for their children due to a substance abuse problem or when a girl under the age of 18 becomes pregnant and chooses to live with her partner. In these cases, courts can consider the child’s needs, the child’s independent resources, and the family’s reasonable expectations regarding care and behavior. Whether you are a child or parent, our lawyers can evaluate your situation and provide informed counsel about your options under New Jersey law.
Contact a skilled Sussex County and Newton family lawyer for advice on emancipation
Hollander, Strelzik, Pasculli, Hinkes, Wojcik, Gacquin, Vandenberg & Hontz, L.L.C. represents New Jersey clients in family law matters and other legal practice areas. Please call 862-273-3465 or contact us online to schedule an appointment at our Newton office.