Emancipation of a Minor in New Jersey

New Jersey, unlike many states, does not have a formally enacted emancipation statute. New Jersey also does not deem a child automatically emancipated at the age of 18. A child may not be emancipated by the court even if both parents agree upon the emancipation. Rather, for an emancipation petition to be granted, the child has to be operating outside the sphere of parental influence, which essentially means the child is self-sufficient.

If you are trying to apply for or contest an emancipation petition, working with an experienced family law attorney can help ensure that you navigate the process successfully. Fridie Law Group L.L.C. works with individuals throughout Camden, Burlington County, and central and southern New Jersey who wish to pursue emancipation and other family law matters. Contact us today to schedule a free consultation to learn more about how we can help you with this type of technical issue. (Some exclusions apply to the free consultation offer.)

The following are reasons a court may grant an emancipation petition:

  • The child is not a full-time student upon high school graduation.
  • The child has moved beyond the sphere of influence of the parents in terms of rational decision-making.

  • The child is married.

  • The child is an active member of the armed forces.
  • The child has decided to no longer pursue an education and is working full time, and the parents agree with this decision.

It is important to remember that New Jersey emancipation varies from household to household and each case is fact-specific. A judge can look at any information he or she deems relevant when deciding to grant or deny a petition.

Termination of Child Support and Emancipation

There is no fixed age in New Jersey when child support stops. Once your child turns 18 and/or becomes financially independent, either parent must file papers with the court asking that the order be terminated or adjusted. This modification is also known as "emancipation." Based on the facts, the court will decide if the child still needs support.

Generally, the court presumes that all children under 18 need financial support from their parents. In some cases, however, support may continue even through college or graduate school based on a child's need for help to support himself or herself. Support may terminate automatically if your order specifies a date or age when it is expected to stop.

Moreover, both parents are generally responsible for contributing to their children's college costs. Recent cases have also led to changes regarding how child support will be calculated when a child moves away for college.