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Court Affirms Child’s Emancipation Over Mother’s Protests

Court Affirms Child’s Emancipation Over Mother’s Protests

In Almeida v. Dykhouse, the parties have been engaged in repetitive litigation with regard to financial issues concerning the custody and emancipation of their son. The parties were never married and their son was 23 years old at the time of this appeal. The issues that were the result of the appeal arose out of a Family Court judge’s opinion issued in 2014. In that opinion, the judge emancipated the parties’ son as of 2012 and granted the father a child support credit from 2008 through the date of emancipation in 2012. Further, the father was ordered to pay certain arrears on child support and college costs upon an audit that was to be conducted by the Probation Department. The audit determined that the father owed $414 to the mother after considering other credits. The mother appealed from the Family Court’s ruling challenging the retroactive medical credits awarded to the father and the Court Order emancipating the son as of 2012. She argued that the court should have delayed the date of her son’s emancipation until the end of 2013 when he stopped taking courses at a community college. The Appellate Court affirmed the decision of the lower court determining that the son had attained the age of majority and had sufficiently moved beyond the sphere of influence and responsibility of his parents to be emancipated. Filippone v. Lee, 304 N.J. Super. 301, 308, 700 A.2d 284 (App. Div. 1997); Llewelyn v. Shewchuck, Super. LEXIS 60 (App. Div. 2015) (slip op. at 7). Therefore, even though he may have still been taking some classes at a community college he was no longer being supported by his parents and was able to support himself outside the home. The Appellate Division saw no reason to disturb the judge’s rulings, including the retroactive credits awarded to the father for past health insurance premiums. The court also noted that although the parties continued to disagree over the court’s calculations regarding the credits and arrears, the Appellate Court was satisfied that the remaining issues were de minimis in nature and did not require it to make any further rulings with regard to them. N.J. Court Rule 2:10-2. In New Jersey child emancipation does not automatically occur once a child reaches the age of majority and a party wishing to seek the legal emancipation of a child much petition the court to do so. If you have questions regarding the legal standard for emancipation or how a child’s emancipation affects a parent’s child support obligation it is critical that you seek out the advice of an experienced attorney before moving forward. For more information about emancipation, child custody, divorce, alimony, child support, or other family law matters in New Jersey visit DarlingFirm.com. This blog is for informational purposes and in no way intended to replace the advice of an attorney.

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