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New York Emancipation of Minor Frequently Asked Questions

Q. What is emancipation of a minor in New York?

A. Emancipation is by court order. When a child is emancipated, duties of parental support end. The child

  • No longer lives with the parent
  • Is self-sufficient
  • Is no longer under parental control
Q. Until what age must a parent support a child?

A. In New York state, a parent must support their child until the child is 21 years of age or becomes emancipated.

Q. How old does a minor have to be to be emancipated?

A. A minor must be at least 16 years of age to be emancipated.

Q. Why would a child want to become emancipated?

A. A child who makes a great deal of income, such as a popular entertainer, may want to protect that income from their parents. In addition to having control of their income, an emancipated child can enter into contracts and leases, file lawsuits, make their own medical decisions and make decisions for themselves such as where they go to school.

Q. I’m a noncustodial parent who pays child support. Do I have to keep paying child support if my child becomes emancipated?

A. No, you no longer have to pay child support after your child is emancipated. All duties of support end.

Q. How can I become emancipated? Do I just need to file something in court?

A. New York does not have a minor emancipation statute, so the only way to become emancipated is to file a motion in conjunction with another case already in court such as a custody or a child support action. Talk with your family lawyer about how to become emancipated in the state of New York.

Q. What circumstances justify a court declaring a minor to be emancipated in New York?

A. Some of the grounds for emancipation as long as the minor is over the age of 16 include

  • Military service: A minor joins the military.
  • Self-supporting. A minor has a full-time job and supports themselves.
  • Marriage. If a child marries before turning 21 without the permission of their parents, a court will usually find them to be emancipated unless they received parental permission to marry, which would show they are still being guided by their parents. A minor under the age of 18 must have permission to marry under New York law, which means nobody under the age of 18 can be emancipated due to marriage.
  • Outside of parent’s control. A minor who does not live with their parents or submit to their guidance. If a minor goes away to a school of which the parent approves, they are still under parental guidance versus running away from home.
Q. Once emancipated, can a minor become unemancipated in New York?

A. Yes, if circumstances change, it is possible for emancipation to be reversed. For example, a minor could be discharged from the military before the age of 21, get divorced, no longer be able to support themselves or return home and submit to parental control after running away.

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My ex-husband hadn't paid child support or the mortgage on the house as he was supposed to. Stephen Bilkis and his team of lawyers were amazing. They stopped the foreclosure on the house, Got a judgment against him and most importantly kept me and my children in the house. Can't say enough good things about him in the firm their compassion hard work and dedication were exceptional. I.G.
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