When Can Child Emancipation Legally Occur?

Wanting to be emancipated and legally being allowed the right to it are two different concepts. Many children, though, wish both can be interchangeable. They’ll file for emancipation, but legally are not able to for a number of reasons. The ultimate reason why, though, is because the court simply won’t allow it. Why?

Family law makes it clear that parents have a duty to provide for their children as codified under the statutes of N.J.S.A. 2A:34-23. These statutes state that parents are completely obligated to provide “care, custody, education and maintenance” of children as is considered “fit, reasonable, and just.” That last part is very important, stipulating that every case happens to be unique. Even more importantly, in New Jersey, there’s no set age limit for emancipation, not even the age of 18. We can presume that emancipation can legally occur at the age of 18, because legally that’s when a child can move out – but for emancipation purposes, that’s not so definite.

Other states stipulate under family law that there’s a legal age for emancipation, and that age is 18. Bear that in mind. This is not to say that the age of a child can’t be used as evidence for emancipation, though. It can. However, parents can introduce evidence contrary to that, showing that a child must not be emancipated despite being the age of 18. In that case, courts must review all the evidence and details to make an accurate decision.

When can it legally occur? When it’s proven that parents no longer need to provide that “care, custody, education and maintenance” as the law states. Plain and simple. The rule of thumb here is to not simply rely on the number 18. Here, it’s just a number.

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