Family Law Prof Blog

Editor: Margaret Ryznar
Indiana University
Robert H. McKinney School of Law

Wednesday, August 16, 2006

Case Law Development: Emancipation May Not Be Based Solely on Poor College Grades

A New Jersey trial court ordered that a 20-year-old daughter would be emancipated if she did not earn a
"B" average in college that semester.  In the court's words, " "Whatever she finishes this semester with, if it's a B average, [Father] pays. If it's not a B average, he's off the hook, and maybe she has to take a year off and get a job and save money so she can go to school the next year. Maybe she has to go to school at night and work during the day or vice-versa."  When daughter's semester did not meet the grade standard imposed, the trial court ordered a termination of child support.  The court of appeals reversed, concluding that "Early struggles at school do not take a child outside of the parental sphere and make him or her independent. On the contrary, when the child struggles in college he or she may need and rely on his or her parents even more than during times of success. The standard applied by the court was arbitrary, capricious and unreasonable." The appellate court also found that the trial judge had failed to make adequate findings as to the father's ability to contribute to his daughter's college expenses.

Keno v. Pilgrim, (August 15, 2006)
Opinion on the web (last visited August 15, 2006 bgf)

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