Child Support in New Jersey – When Will My Child Be Emancipated So I Can Stop Paying?
One of the most common issues after a New Jersey divorce is when will child support end.
Some parents believe that, when they enter into a Settlement Agreement at the time of their divorce, they can agree that their child support obligation will end for each child when that child turns 18 years old.
However, such an Agreement is not enforceable in New Jersey, because the right to child support belongs to the child and not the parents. New Jersey family courts have consistently confirmed that it is against public policy to allow a parent to bargain away their child’s essential right to support.
So when does child support end in New Jersey? The answer is when a child is emancipated.
New Jersey family courts have held that emancipation will be deemed to occur when a child moves—or should be able to move–beyond the parents’ sphere of influence and obtain an independent status.
Therefore, the age at which a child will be declared emancipated can vary greatly and is based on the unique circumstances of each case.
Three events which typically trigger a finding of emancipation are the child’s: (1) marriage; (2) entry into the military; or (3) full time employment.
Full-time attendance at college—even if the child lives at school—generally does not constitute emancipation. However, New Jersey family courts have recognized that the amount of child support should change in those situations.
If you have a child support obligation, please note: emancipation is not automatic. Your child support obligation will continue until you and the other parent sign a written Agreement confirming that your child is emancipated or you obtain an Order from a New Jersey family court.
If you have more than one child for which you are paying support, please also note that the amount of your child support obligation for any remaining un-emancipated children may change if either of the parents’ incomes is substantially different than at the time your child support obligation was previously determined.
As you can see, in New Jersey the determination and effect of a child’s emancipation can be complicated.
Salvaggio Law Group LLC devotes its entire practice to New Jersey Divorce and Family Law matters.
If you want to talk, please call us at (973) 455-1220 or fill out the Contact Form on