Child support terminates upon emancipation
of the child, unless otherwise ordered. Various cases state that there is no fixed age upon which emancipation automatically occurs and each case is fact-specific. E.g., Newburgh v. Arrigo, 88 N.J. 529 (1982);
Filippone v. Lee, 304 N.J. Super. 301 (App. Div. 1997). N.J.S.A. 9:17B-3, however, provides that a person is “deemed to be an adult” upon reaching the age of eighteen. Accordingly, a moving party establishes a prima facie case of emancipation upon demonstrating that a child has reached the age of eighteen, and the burden of proof then shifts to the responding party to demonstrate a continuing need for financial support. Rescinito v. Panetta, 2009 WL(NNN) NNN-NNNNat *2 (N.J.Super.A.D. Aug. 20, 2009).
The burden to demonstrate a continuing need for parental financial contribution is satisfied by showing that a child is still in high school, a child is enrolled in college, a health condition prevents a child from being self-sufficient or other similar situations as recognized by case law authority. Upon making such a demonstration, the burden of proof shifts back to the moving party, who at this stage can raise genuine issues of material fact as to the bona fides of the need for parental contribution, necessitating the scheduling of a plenary hearing.