Emancipation! Wait, I May Still Have to Pay Child Support After My Child Turns 18? (New Jersey Edition)

Posted By The Law Offices of Adelola Sheralynn Dow || 20-Mar-2017

An eighteen-year-old in the State of New Jersey can obtain a driver’s license, vote, and engage in other activities and decisions reserved for adults. But yes, at age 18 your new adult may aso still be entitled to receive child support from you.

Until the recent enactment of signed S-1046/A-2721, New Jersey had one of the most flexible and unpredictable emancipation laws in the Country. While a child’s attainment of age eighteen (18) allowed the court to presume that the child was emancipated, that presumption was rebutted where the child was deemed to be under the “sphere of parental influence.” This inquiry was entirely fact-sensitive. Generally, if the child still lives with a parent, cannot support him/herself financially, is in college, or is otherwise dependant upon his or her parents, he or she is not likely to be emancipated.

New Jersey emancipation laws will change in February 2017. In February 2017, all child support obligations paid by a non-custodial parent will terminate upon a child reaching the age of 19. Unlike the old process, this termination will be automatic.

The law will not result in an automatic termination if:

  1. Another termination age was agreed upon within an agreement or order;
  2. A custodial parent submits a request seeking the continuation of child support to the Court prior to the child reaching the age of 19; or
  3. The child receiving support is in an out-of-home placement through the Division of Child Protection and Permanency.

The burden is now on the custodial parent to provide that a child who is over the age of 19 still requires support because:

  1. The child is enrolled in high school or in a secondary educational program;
  2. The child is a student in a post secondary educational program and is enrolled on a full-time basis;
  3. The child has a physical disability, as determined by a federal or state government agency, and the disability existed prior to the child’s 19th birthday.

If you have more questions about your child’s emancipation status, contact my offices to arrange your personal, confidential consultation with New Jersey Child Support Attorney, Adelola Sheralynn Dow.

Categories: Child Support