Child Custody, Visitation & Relocation

Children Age 18 Still In School And Reliant Upon Their Parents For Support Are Not Emancipated For Purposes Of Child Support

The post-judgment child support, family law, divorce case of Cosco v. Cosco, No. 20-2-7275, N.J. App. Div. addressed the issue of emancipation in the context of a parent who seeks to terminate his support obligations based upon a settlement agreement providing for termination of support at age eighteen but requiring the parties to pay for their children’s education expenses beyond that age. The appellate panel concluded that the Family Part judge correctly determined that, based on 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. The panel found no error in the judge’s denial of plaintiff’s reconsideration motion as to emancipation because plaintiff failed to supply any newly discovered information or establish that the court erred as to its legal conclusions. Plaintiff’s claims seeking a modification of support based on allegations relating to changes in the children’s residencies was already properly determined by the court in a prior order. Plaintiff’s submissions on reconsideration did not add anything to the argument and constituted a “rehashing” of what was already decided. Also, to the extent plaintiff sought a hearing as to his demand for modification of child support independent of his reconsideration motion, his evidence failed to satisfy the requirements for establishing a prima facie claim. Plaintiff’s CIS was not only incomplete but was misleading. It failed to disclose any information about his income or his business expenses, which supported the statements he made in his certification. Also, plaintiff failed to include his earlier CIS. Under these circumstances, the Family Part correctly denied plaintiff’s request for modification without a hearing. Finally, the motion judge awarded a portion of the amount sought by defendant’s counsel after a proper analysis, including consideration of the parties’ disproportionate income and his finding of bad faith, based on defendant’s attempt to rehash his original motion and his failure to supply required financial information. The award was proper.

Reference: Case & Analysis, New Jersey Law Journal, 221 N.J.L.J. 198 (July 13, 2015)

Filed Under: Family Law; Divorce Law; Child Support

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