Child Support: An Exception to the Rule

“What do you mean I have to keep paying child support for that bratty, spoiled rotten, obnoxious kid of mine?”  That kid has refused to even talk to me for years now!” She doesn’t deserve a red cent from me!”

Constructive Emancipation

In New York, parents are responsible for their children's financial support until age 21. Of course there are exceptions to every rule.  One is called the ‘doctrine of constructive emancipation’.  This is where a child of employable age actively abandons the non-custodial parent, in that the child refuses all contact and communication with them. In that case, the child may forfeit any financial support that they might have otherwise been entitled to through a Court Order.

A child's mere reluctance, however, to see a parent will not be considered abandonment that gives rise to ‘constructive emancipation’. Furthermore, where it is the parent themselves, and not the child, who causes a breakdown in the relationship, or if the parent has made no serious effort to contact the child, the child will likewise not be deemed to have abandoned the parent. Also, a child's justified refusal to continue a relationship due to such conduct by a parent will not be considered self-emancipation. 

Burden of Proof

The burden of proof as to emancipation is on the party asserting it.  Thus, if a non-custodial parent wants to end their child support based upon the theory of constructive emancipation, they must file a court case and be able to prove that the relationship ended through no fault of their own and despite their best efforts.

You may reach Divorce & Family Law Attorney, Steven Gildin at: 516-524-5657  24/7
"Passionate, Empathetic, Aggressive"


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