Jersey City Emancipation Lawyer
Emancipation is a legal process in which a minor becomes responsible for their own actions and financial situation. Instead of parents making decisions involving education, medicine, and finances, you may seek to have the responsibility yourself. There are many situations in which emancipation might be appropriate for you.
Becoming emancipated as a person under 18 is a legal process that takes time and resources. It can be difficult to achieve on your own. To learn more about emancipation and whether it may be right for you, contact a Jersey City emancipation lawyer of Bhatt Law Group at (201) 798-8000 and schedule a free initial consultation.
Understanding Emancipation in New Jersey
If you are a minor who wants to become independent of your parents, you will need court approval. That is because prior to 18 you do not have the legal rights you need to live entirely on your own. New Jersey views emancipation as the time in which you significantly separate yourself from your parents by working or living independently or by marrying or going into the military. This means if you want to become emancipated as a minor, you must do so based on evidence that you currently are – or are capable of being – independent from your parents and responsible for your own actions and finances.
While the age of 18 is when you became an adult, turning 18 does not mean you are automatically free from your parents. You could be 20-years-old and still live in your parents’ home and be relying on your parents’ financial support. In this situation, though, legal emancipation proceedings are not necessary because you have the freedom as an adult to become independent on your own. For example, you can obtain full-time employment, sign a lease on an apartment, and move out of your parents’ home without their permission or involvement.
However, you may still become legally emancipated after the age of 18 if you are receiving child support. While a parent may still be paying child support to a 20-year-old who is attending college, parents are not required to pay support for you if you are emancipated, whatever your age.
When You Can Seek Emancipation as a Minor
In general, you have the right to seek emancipation if you are 16 years old, live apart from you parents, and are capable of financially supporting yourself. You will have to show you have an income and it is enough to take care of yourself, such as pay for rent, groceries, transportation, and a cell phone. Emancipation is a drastic legal step that is most appropriate when you have been abandoned, neglected, or abused by your parents, guardians, or foster parents. You are unlikely to be granted emancipation if you are an average teenager living in a safe and stable home environment, no matter how much you do not get along with your parents or disagree with their rules.
If you are 15 years old or younger and you believe you should not live with your parents due to abuse or neglect, you need to look at other options. This may include a member of your family becoming your guardian, such as a grandparent, aunt or uncle, or adult sibling.
The Legal Process for a Minor’s Emancipation
To seek emancipation as a minor, you must file a complaint in your local court system. A complaint is the initial paperwork for any type of lawsuit. By working with an experienced family law attorney, you avoid common legal mistakes and ensure the correct documents are filed at the appropriate courthouse. You may also be required to serve your parents or guardians a copy of this complaint, enabling them to also attend court and argue against your request for emancipation.
You will have to go to court and provide factual evidence that you have moved beyond your parents’ sphere of influence. This means that you are financially independent of your parents. The judge will determine whether you should be emancipated based on the facts of your circumstances, including your living arrangements, income, education, future plans, safety, and wellbeing. Elements that would favor emancipation include if you are married, have joined the military, have finished your high school education, or have a full-time job.
During the legal process, you may have to speak with the judge or undergo a psychological evaluation. You may also have to endure your parents or guardians offering evidence against your emancipation. To learn more about what you can expect from the legal process, including what it is like to attend court, contact Bhatt Law Group today.
Emancipation and Child Support
Whether or not you are emancipated may be important to your parents after you turn 18 if one of your parents pays child support. If you are living on your own or separate from the parent receiving child support, then your paying parent may want their obligation to end.
New Jersey’s new emancipation law in relation to child support went into effect on February 1, 2017. Under this new law, your parent’s obligation to pay child support for you ends when you reach 19 (with a few exceptions), when you marry, pass away, enter military service, or when you are fully emancipated. Your parent’s obligation to pay support can continue on after you are 19 if it is specified in a court order, you are still in high school, you have a physical or mental disability, or you are enrolled at a higher education institution. In almost all cases, the duty to pay support ends entirely when you turn 23.
Call a Jersey City Emancipation Lawyer for Advice
If you believe emancipation may be right for you, call Bhatt Law Group today. If we believe you will not succeed in an emancipation petition, we can advise you on other courses of action such as taking steps toward guardianship or achieving financial independence. However, if we see that emancipation is the best thing for you, we can represent you through this process and help you achieve your independence.