Saturday, August 29, 2015
Emancipation and Child Support Provisions Of PSA Not Enforced
Cosco v. Cosco, is a post-judgment dissolution matter in which the court addressed the issue of a child's emancipation in the context of a parent who sought to terminate his child support obligations based upon a settlement agreement that specified that the support would terminate when the child turned eighteen years old. The Plaintiff appealed from the Family Court's Order that denied the emancipation of the parties' sons and the termination of child support, amongst other requests for relief. He argued that the court erred in not enforcing the parties' property settlement agreement (PSA) that set the termination date for the child support because the provisions were "fair and equitable" and the "public policy against waiver of child support [did] not apply . . . ." The Appellate Division affirmed the decision of the Family Court. According to the Appellate Division, any agreement attempting to abrogate a child's right to support is not enforceable. The courts have consistently held that an agreement between parents purporting to waive child support does not affect the child's right to those benefits. Kopak v. Polzer, 4 N.J. 327, 332-33 (195); Martinetti v. Hickman, 261 N.J. Super. 508, 512 (App. Div. 1993); Ryan v. Ryan, 246 N.J. Super. 376, 383 (Ch. Div. 1990). Applying these principles, the Appellate Division determined that the Family Court correctly determined that, based upon the parties' Certifications confirming the children were still in school and reliant upon their parents for support, neither child was emancipated and neither their turning eighteen nor the PSA altered their entitlement to support. Gac v. Gac, 186 N.J. 535, 543 (2006); Moehring v. Maute, 268 N.J. Super. 477, 480-81 (Ch. Div. 1993). Child emancipation and child support cases are of the most emotional and difficult cases in all of family law. If you feel that it may be beneficial to you to submit an application to the court for a modification of your current child support obligation or with regard to the emancipation of your children it is critical that you seek out the advice of an experienced attorney before moving forward. For more information about child custody, child support, post-judgment modification, emancipation, divorce or other family law matters in New Jersey visit the DarlingFirm.com. This blog is for informational purposes and in no way is intended to replace the advice of an attorney.