Termination of Child Support
Examining the Custody Laws in Westchester County, NY
In New York, child support “terminates” when a child reaches
the age of 21. Beyond the age of 21 parents do not have a legal obligation
to support their child unless the parents have entered into a valid contract
child support beyond the age of 21.
However, there are instances when a parent’s child support obligation
may be terminated before their child turns 21. In New York legal language
this occurs when a child becomes “emancipated” prior to reaching
the age of 21. Examples of “emancipation” include instances where:
The child obtains full-time employment which pays enough that the child
can truly be considered to be financially independent of their parents; and/or
the child gets married; and/or
the child enters into the armed forces; and/or
under certain limited circumstances, the child refuses, without just cause,
to submit to reasonable parental authority.
The parents are divorced and their divorce agreement has specific provisions
which the parties’ agree are considered “emancipation events”.
Emancipation of a Child
While a child may become emancipated prior to the age of 21 it is also
possible that after a New York family or supreme court rules that the
child is emancipated, that the child may later become “unemancipated”
prior to reaching the age of 21 which would require that the payment of
child support must resume. For example, at age 18 the child had full time
employment and was financially independent of his/her parents but then
at age 19 the child stops working and attends college.
It is also vital to understand that emancipation does not occur automatically.
You cannot emancipate a child, even when both parties agree to early emancipation
or your case fits one or more of the examples outlined above. That's
something that must be done by the Court and that is why you need the
assistance of a
Westchester County divorce lawyer.
Emancipation in Divorce
In circumstances where a person’s obligation to pay child support
derives from their divorce agreement with their ex-spouse (also known
as a “settlement agreement” or “stipulation of settlement”)
it is typical that the parties will define emancipation events in the
divorce agreement itself. The above conditions represent typical definitions
commonly found in a divorce agreement. However, even if the divorce agreement
defines “emancipation” the parties’ will still need
the Court to approve.
It is also common for people to agree in their divorce agreement that when
a child is enrolled in a full time college and is pursuing an undergraduate
degree, the age of emancipation is 22 years or the completion of four
years of college, whichever comes first. Absent such an agreement, in
all other instances, the age of emancipation is 21 unless certain other
factors exist which may trigger an earlier emancipation upon application
to a Court.
Schedule Your Free Initial Consultation
If you are seeking to obtain a court order terminating your child support
obligations because you believe,
for any reason, that your child support obligations should be terminated, call the White
Plains family court lawyers at
Riebling, Proto & Sachs, LLP for a
FREE INITIAL CONSULATION to discuss your legal rights.
Contact us online or by telephone at (914) 840-5104 to speak with an experienced
family law attorney.