Emancipation Explained

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Prior to New Jersey’s new emancipation law, the parent paying for child support had the burden of asking the court for a child to be emancipated. As of February 1, 2017, child support obligations automatically terminate on the child’s 19th birthday. Now, the parent receiving child support explains why child support should not terminate. The law applies to all child support orders, regardless of when they were entered.

Child support and/or medical support may continue up to age 23 in cases where the child is either still in high school, attending college or vocational school full-time, or is disabled. Additionally, the court may use its discretion to continue support, or the parties may reach a different agreement. If you have a settlement agreement that contains different standards for the emancipation, this law will not apply.

Regardless of the new law, you may still provide health care coverage for your child. If you pay for child support through the probation department, you will receive a notice about five months prior to the child’s 19th birthday asking for a reason to continue support. If you do not respond, another notice will be sent two months later. If again you do not respond, child support will automatically terminate on the child’s 19th birthday.

In shifting the burden from the parent paying for child support to the custodial parent, the new law seeks to make this process more equitable. Speaking with an attorney can give you greater insight into the new law and how it affects you and your child.