The obligation to pay child support does not automatically terminate when a child turns 18 years of age. In New Jersey, an obligation to pay child support only terminates when a child is emancipated. Our courts deem a child emancipated when they move “beyond the sphere of parental influence.” Whether a child is beyond the sphere of parental influence is an extremely fact sensitive determination. For example, children who continue their education on a full-time basis after high school remain unemancipated. Courts will also take into consideration any special needs or circumstances that a child may have that may impact their ability to achieve an independent status.
When parties are divorcing, it is common to address emancipation events in the Marital Settlement Agreement. These events often include the completion of post-secondary education, the child’s death, marriage or entry into the armed forces or the obtainment of full-time employment (which does not include full-time employment during summer or other breaks from college). The attorneys at Ulrichsen Rosen & Freed LLC can help negotiate the terms.
Moreover, if the terms for emancipation are not defined in a Marital Settlement Agreement or Final Judgment of Divorce, the attorneys at Ulrichsen Rosen & Freed LLC can assist clients to evaluate whether emancipation is appropriate or defendant against a premature application for emancipation. We provide representation for all emancipation related issues to clients living throughout New Jersey including Mercer County, Somerset County, Hunterdon County, Middlesex County and Burlington County.
To schedule an initial consultation with a lawyer from our firm, call 609-730-3850 or contact us online.