Termination of Child Support upon Emancipation in New Jersey
By Kenneth Vercammen, Esq.
Child support is usually paid through a wage withholding garnishment at the parent's job. Child support orders and wage withholding continue forever against you until a Superior Court Judge signs a Formal Court Order terminating or modifying support. It is not sufficient for you to simply wait for a child to finish school. Many Divorce decrees and Property Settlement Agreements state that child support will end upon emancipation. For example, the term "emancipation" is sometimes defined as follows: (i) The completion of the child's formal education on a matriculated basis, whether it be graduation from a four year undergraduate school or high school, it being understood that so long as the child is diligently pursuing his formal education through a four year undergraduate college education and obtaining passing grades the child shall not be considered emancipated. (ii) Upon the completion of any of the aforesaid segments of the child's education, and upon the failure to commence the next segment of his education, or upon leaving school, the child shall be deemed emancipated unless failure to continue on with his education has resulted from injury or illness or some other cause beyond the child's control. (iii) The marriage of the child. (iv) Entry into the military or armed forces by the child.
Your attorney can draft the appropriate Motion to terminate child support if the child is emancipated. You will need to provide your attorney with relevant papers including a copy of the Final Judgment for Divorce, any other Child Support Orders, copy of birth certificate if available, proof of graduation from school or working full time, etc. Sometimes the child support recipient, usually the mother, will sign a Consent Order which your attorney can file without the need for a formal Motion. However, generally a Formal written Notice of Motion must be filed in the County Superior Court where the child support Order was entered. The requirements of the Motion are detailed and must include the correct filing fees. Child support does not end merely if the child reaches 18 and graduates high school. Most child support Order continue child support if the child is in college full time. However, don't give up. In the unreported Appellate Division decision of Kozak v Kozak __ NJ Super. __ (App. Div. decided January 9, 2003) the court reduced child support during the period of time the child resided at the college campus. The judge properly determined it was appropriate to calculate child support only for the period of time the child was not residing at college.
The Motion will need to include the following type of language: PLEASE TAKE NOTICE that the undersigned, attorney for payor parent, will apply to the above named court, at the Court House, on [motion date] for an Order directing that child support payments shall end since the child is now of legal age and emancipated. PLEASE TAKE FURTHER NOTICE that the undersigned shall rely upon the Certification of payor in support of this motion.
All Motions, Family, Civil, Criminal and Chancery/ Equity must include a Certification of mailing, similar to the following: CERTIFICATION OF MAILING The undersigned hereby certifies that the original Notice of Motion, Certification and all supporting papers have been filed directly with the __________ County Family Division Motions Clerk, _____________, New Jersey. It is further certified that a copy of the Notice of Motion, Certification and all supporting papers have been served by certified and regular mail upon all counsel and individuals indicated in the Notice of Motion.
Often, the Certification we prepare will include some of the following language:
CERTIFICATION OF c1 IN SUPPORT OF NOTICE OF MOTION FOR TERMINATION OF CHILD SUPPORT OF c3 I, c1, of full age, hereby certify the following: 1. I am the defendant in the within cause of action and file this Certification in support of my Notice of Motion seeking relief and modification of the Court's prior Order of ___________________. Exhibit 1 2. I was divorced on ____________________, ____________ County, New Jersey. 3. On _______________, the Honorable ______________, ordered me to pay support in the amount of $________ per week for the support of c3, who was residing with my ex-wife. 4. c3 was born on _______________. My child is now 18 years old. Birth certificate Exhibit 2. He works full-time. C3 is not enrolled full time in school. 5. I anticipate retiring someday and need to invest money into a retirement plan. 6. I request that the court terminate child support. I hereby certify that the foregoing statements made by me are true to the best of my knowledge. I am aware that if any of the foregoing statements made by me are willfully false, I am subject to punishment. Order The Motion, Certification, Exhibits and proposed Order prepared by your attorney will be submitted to a Superior Court Judge in the Family Part. The proposed Order prepared by your attorney will usually contain some of the following language:
O ORDER FOR TERMINATION OF CHILD SUPPORT OF c3 This matter having been opened to the Court upon motion of ___, Esq., attorney for c3, for an Order to terminate child support payments, and the Court having considered he Certifications of c1 and c3, documents attached in support of the Motion, and the argument of counsel, if any, and for good cause shown, it is on this __________ day of __________________, 2003, hereby ORDERED that child support for c3 is terminated as of _______________, and it is further ORDERED that the Probation Department immediately update it's records upon receipt of this order, and it is further ORDERED that any child support payments withheld after ___________________, shall be refunded to c3 by the Probation Department or o1 within 20 days of receipt of this order, and it is further
ORDERED that a copy of this order be served upon all Counsel, the Probation Department and parties within ten (10) days.
__________________________ , J.S.C.
After the Order is filed, there is a need to serve copies on the payee parent, Probation Department, your job Personnel Dept/ Human Resources and other relevant persons and entities. Hire an experienced attorney when you have important legal needs. Typical fees for the Motion range between $1,200- $2,500 depending on work involved and experience level of the attorney.
The following is a portion of the additional information we need to draft a Motion: 1. Your Full Name:
___________________________________________________ First Last
2 Your Street Address: ________________________________ City ________________ State __ Zip Code ___________
3. Telephone Number:
4. E-mail address: ______________________________________
5.(a)Referred by: _____________________________________
6. Your Date of Birth: ________________ SS # ____________ Month Day Year
7 Date of Marriage, if any _____________________________
8 Other parent
____________________________________________________ First Last name
9 Street Address _________________________
City ______________ State/Zip ______________
10 Name, Address, & Birthdate of all Child(ren); Person with whom Child(ren) Child's Full Name Address Birthdate Resides with
1. Name and Address of Your Employer (Provide Name and Address of Company if Self- Employed) Name of Employer _______________________________ Address ___________________________
BRIEF DESCRIPTION OF SPECIFIC PROBLEMS OR CONCERN? ______________________________________________________
______________________________________________________ ______________________________________________________ ______________________________________________________ ______________________________________________________
The above information is a brief outline of work an experienced attorney can do for you. Always schedule an in- office consultation whenever an important legal matter arises.
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