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When Can I Stop Paying Child Support in New Jersey?

After many years of paying child support, sometimes a parent may believe that they no longer need to do so. This may be the case if their child is old enough or has the means to provide for themselves. When this happens, the child may have reached “emancipation.” Once a child is emancipated, parents are no longer required to pay child support. When a parent believes their child should be emancipated, there are certain steps that need to be taken.

What is the Age of Emancipation?

Parents are required to financially support their children throughout their upbringing. Generally, this stops at a certain age known as the “age of emancipation.” In the state of New Jersey, the age of emancipation is usually 18 years of age. However, this age is not concrete. There are certain circumstances in which this may end early or be extended.

When Will the State Recognize my Child as Emancipated?

When talking about emancipation, it is important to understand that every case is treated differently in the state of New Jersey. In order to deem a child as emancipated, the court must recognize several different factors of the child’s life. Some factors that may call for emancipation can include if the child:

  • Turns 18 years of age
  • Becomes pregnant or has a child
  • Gets married
  • Enters the military
  • Lives independently, depending on their level of autonomy

An extension for support, resulting in the delay of emancipation, may occur in the event of the following circumstances:

  • The child goes on to receive a higher education, such as college or trade school, and cannot yet support themselves
  • When the child turns 23, child support is no longer allowed to be requested under any circumstances.

Can a Child Emancipate Themselves?

When a child wishes to make their decisions for themselves and is able to support themselves financially, they may want to petition the court for emancipation. It is important to know that while the child may have a long list of reasons as to why they should be emancipated, it is not guaranteed. This decision is made at the discretion of the court. It is also important to note that the court has the power to un-emancipate a minor if there is evidence that the child is not financially independent. 

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