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New York Emancipation of Minors

Under New York law parents are required to support their children until the children reach the age of majority. This means that parents must feed, clothe and provide shelter for their children until they are 21-years old. However, there are circumstances in which the child can be emancipated prior to reaching age 21. In some cases this occurs because the child wants to be emancipated because he or she is self-sufficient. In other cases a child can be declared emancipation by a court based on the child getting married or based on other circumstances. As a result of a child being emancipated a non-custodial parent would be relieved from paying child support. If you are in need of a family lawyer because you are facing an issue related to the emancipation of a minor, it is important that you contact an experienced New York emancipation of minors lawyer who will help you understand the steps involved in emancipation and who will also help you address any other outstanding family law matters related to child custody or child support.

Grounds for emancipation

In addition to attaining the age of 21, under New York law there are 4 grounds for emancipation:

  1. Marriage. Under New York law a child under 18 must have parental permission to marry. If a minor under the age of 21 marries against his or her parent’s wishes, then the minor would likely be deemed emancipated because the child would have made an effort to avoid parental control and the parents would have not been able to exercise parental control. On the other hand if a minor under the age of 21 marries another minor under the age of 21 with the approval of both parents, the court will not likely deem the minor emancipated.
  2. Military service. If a child enlists in the military before age 21 the minor would be deemed emancipated.
  3. Self-supporting. There have been many well-publicized cases in involving “child stars” who sought emancipation. In these cases the minor was earning a substantial amount of money—sometimes millions of dollars each year. It is, however, not necessary that the minor earn a substantial amount of money. The requirement is that the minor is “self-supporting.” Self-supporting means more than having a full-time job. It means that the child must be economically independent.
  4. Refusal to comply with parental rules. A child may be deemed emancipated if he or she is at least 16 years old and refuses to follow parent rules. However, this means more than talking back, refusing to do chores or skipping school now and then. It typically means that the child has left the home for an extended period or is generally no longer under the control of the parents. Thus running away from home and staying away for an extended period would likely support a claim for emancipation, while a minor who is away at boarding school, for example, would not be emancipated.

Emancipation is not necessarily a permanent determination. A child can be deemed emancipated but later deemed unemancipated due to a subsequent change. For example, if a minor enlists into military service prior to age 21, the child would be emancipated. If the minor then is discharged before turning 21, the child may then be declared unemancipated. Similarly, if a minor was deemed emancipated due to leaving home may be later be deemed unemancipated if the he or she returns home and otherwise submits to parental control. In such a case the court may revisit prior support and child custody arrangements.

Contact the Law Offices of Stephen Bilkis & Associates

Emancipation is complicated and a determination is often based on a number of factors. If you are concerned about whether or not your child is emancipated or are facing another type of emancipation issues, it is important that you are represented by someone with experience. The staff at the Law Offices of Stephen Bilkis & Associates has years of experience successfully representing clients on matters related to child support, child custody, as well as other family law matters. Contact us at 800.696.9529 to schedule a free, no obligation consultation regarding your case. We represent clients in the following locations: the Bronx, Brooklyn, Long Island, Manhattan, Nassau County, Queens, Staten Island, Suffolk County and Westchester County.

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From the very first phone call to Stephen Bilkis' office, the staff was extremely polite and helpful in assisting me. Mr. Bilkis was honest and upfront with me from the beginning in what he projected the outcome of my case would be; in the end we got better results than either of us anticipated. He was very genuine and compassionate in understanding my situation and how this legal matter could effect not only myself but my family as well. I highly recommend this law firm and will most definitely continue using them for any future legal needs. Jarrett
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