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Reasons a Child Might Seek Emancipation in New Jersey

Emancipation is the process by which a minor becomes a legal adult before reaching the age of majority. In New Jersey, the age of majority is 18, while the age of emancipation is not specified. Laws passed in 2017 clarified that child support obligations end at the age of 19, though they can be extended until the age of 23 under certain circumstances, such as a child attending college.

If a child is emancipated as a minor, the parents are no longer obligated to pay child support. The minor becomes responsible for their own finances, can pursue their own healthcare, and can sign their own legal documents without parental approval. In some cases, such as when a child has special needs or the parents are divorced, negotiations can be made to continue financial support after emancipation.

Generally, if a minor still requires financial support, they should not become a legal adult. There are, however, some reasons why a child may seek emancipation.

Military Service

If someone enlists in military service at the age of 17 with parental consent, they can pursue emancipation.

Economic Independence

A primary motivation behind a child seeking emancipation is economic independence. Parents have a legal requirement to support their children, and if they are not, the child may seek greater opportunities for themselves through emancipation. Similarly, if a child is earning more than their parents or finds their personal income wrongly subject to their parents’ control, they may seek emancipation for greater financial independence.

Unhappy with Family Situation

Parents are legally obligated to provide their children with a safe living environment. Nonetheless, a child may suffer from abuse, neglect, or abandonment at home. Though family counseling can be a good start, there are some instances where a minor’s only option to escape an unsafe or toxic family environment is to leave. In these cases, a minor can also seek emancipation.

Speak with a Knowledgeable Family Law Attorney About Child Emancipation in New Jersey

If a child seeks to emancipate themselves to pursue economic independence or escape an abusive household, they will require legal assistance. Consulting an experienced family law attorney is the first step to figuring out what the best options are for you and your family. At Moskowitz Law Group, we understand that these cases are extremely nuanced, and we are here to help. Contact us today to set up a free consultation.

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