Unlike some states, NJ does not have a predetermined age for a child that would allow the end of child support. Financial obligations for a child end in NJ when it has been determined that the child is “emancipated”. Emancipation is a factually specific analysis and subject to a great deal of interpretation. In a recent case that has been approved for publication (meaning it now has precedential value for future cases), the NJ Supreme Court has issued an ruling that brings context to one of the many variables that may be present in a particular case.
20-2-6451 Llewelyn v. Shewchuk, App. Div. (Rothstadt, J.A.D.) (14 pp.) In this case, we consider whether an adult child made a sufficient showing that she is not emancipated and entitled to continued support from her father, who had adopted her at an early age and later became divorced from her mother. The daughter voluntarily left her mother’s home at the age of twenty to live with her biological father, obtained part-time employment, sporadically attended school and arranged for her support in reliance upon the financial relationship she entered into with her biological father and his wife, who were under no obligation to support the daughter. We reject the daughter’s argument she is not emancipated and that she has not moved beyond her parents’ sphere of influence or responsibility or obtained an independent status of her own. While we recognize a child’s right to pursue support from a parent, even if the child no longer resides with either, we affirm the Family Part’s order, granting the father’s motion to terminate child support because his adult daughter was emancipated. [Decided April 13, 2015] [Approved for publication.]