This week the Northern Hemisphere celebrated the Summer Solstice which marks the longest day of the year and the official start of the summer season. The month of June also brings with it the end of the school here in New Jersey and the many high school graduations. In New Jersey, approximately 70% of those graduates are enrolled to start college in the months ahead. For most families, once the euphoria of graduation wears off and celebratory balloons begin to deflate, it does not take long for the anxiety related the costs, both emotional and mainly financial, associated with a child[en]’s attendance at college to set in. The stress associated with the process can also be magnified in situations where the parties are divorced. Continue reading
Several weeks ago my colleague, Elsie Gonzalez, Esq., wrote a blog post discussing the recent Appellate Division case of Ricci v. Ricci, A-1832-14T1 decided on February 9, 2017. That matter arose
as a result of a child bringing an action against her divorced parents seeking contribution from them for her college expenses as well as other relief. Although the circumstances and reasons for same were in dispute, the child had moved out of her mother’s home at age 19 and moved in with her paternal grandparents. The parents filed a Consent Order declaring the child emancipated. The child subsequently filed a motion seeking to intervene in the matrimonial matter, seeking to vacate the emancipation Order and for contribution towards her college educational expenses, initially for the community college she was attending. Continue reading
Reiterating the opening to my colleague, Padraic F.X. Dugan, Esq.’s blog outlining the history of U.S. Supreme Court decisions regarding the fundamental right to parent one’s child, he wrote: “United States Supreme Court Justice Sandra Day O’Connor wrote on behalf of the Court in the case of Troxel v. Granville, 530 U.S. 57 (2000), that ‘the interest of parents in the care, custody, and control of their children — is perhaps the oldest of the fundamental liberty interests recognized by this Court.’ Justice O’Connor went on to cite other decisions like Meyer v. Nebraska, 262 U.S. 390 (1923), wherein the Court recognized ‘that the ‘liberty’ protected by the Due Process Clause includes the right of parents to ‘establish a home and bring up children’ and ‘to control the education of their own.’ Continue reading
New Jersey Govenor Christie has signed into law N.J.S.A. 2A:17-56.67 which significantly modifies the current law related to the duration and termination of child support obligations.
“operation of law” when the child either: (1) dies, (2) marries, (3) enters military service or (4) reaches 19 years of age. Emancipation traditionally occurred upon: death, marriage or military service. However prior to the modification of this statute, emancipation presumptively occurred at age 18.
Allocation of higher education expenses for the children of divorced or non-married parents continues to be an area of litigation and developing law. This week, the Appellate Division approved for publication the case of Avelino-Catabran v. Catabran, in which the Appellate Division addressed the interpretation and enforcement of a Property Settlement Agreement between divorced parents that provided for allocation of college expenses not covered by a student’s financial aid package, where a parent had taken out PLUS loans. The Court also addressed the support of college age unemancipated children where one child resided with one party outside of the U.S., and the other child resided at college in New York. Continue reading
On March 17, 2016, the New Jersey Appellate Division issued an unpublished opinion in the case of Parrish v. Klugar 2015 WL 10488423 (App. Div. 2016). In the Parrish case, the father appealed from an August 18, 2014 post-judgment Family Part order that denied his motion to emancipate his then twenty-one-year-old child, ordered the parties to cooperate with a parenting coordinator and abide by her recommendations, and directed the parties to “‘return’ to a psychologist for updated psychological evaluations for themselves as well as their two younger children, then ages thirteen and twelve. Continue reading
The current state of the law in New Jersey regarding children’s (or their primary custodial parent’s) right to child support is that children are not necessarily deemed emancipated upon reaching the age of 18, but that emancipation may occur later when the child completes full-time post-secondary education, gets married, dies, enters the military service, or some other emancipation triggering event. The New Jersey Supreme Court in the leading case of Newburgh v. Arrigo, 88 N.J. 529 (1982), addressed the issue of emancipation, including the extent to which a child’s attainment of the age of majority, now 18 (N.J.S.A. 9:17B-3), would affect a duty to support. Continue reading
In 2014 my colleague wrote an excellent blog entitled “When Does Child Support End?-Shifting the Burden”, which discussed New Jersey law on the emancipation of a child and the termination of child support. Another colleague has further blogged about the payment of college expenses by divorced parents. You may also recall a 2014 case filed in New Jersey by Rachel Canning, who moved out of her parents’ home because she did not want to abide by their rules, yet filed an application to compel her non-divorced parents to pay for her college expenses and support. Continue reading
As my colleague, Mr. Dugan has touched upon in prior blog posts, divorced parents can be required to provide a college education (sometimes even an advanced degree) to their children, in addition to having to pay child support under New Jersey law. The Honorable Lawrence R. Jones, J.S.C. has offered additional insight into this issue in the case of Black v. Black, published on June 13, 2014. More specifically, Judge Jones addressed the relationship required between a child and the divorced parent from whom the child seeks a contribution to college expenses. Continue reading
On April 28th 2014 the Appellate Division issued an unpublished decision in the post-judgment case of Fox v. Fox, A-2339-12T1, 2014 WL 1660394 (N.J. Super. Ct. App. Div.). The Appellate Division reversed and remanded the trial court’s decisions to deny Dorothy Fox n/k/a Lamuraglia’s motion to modify child support. Ms. Lamuraglia was seeking to terminate her child support on the grounds that the child was about to start college. Continue reading