Update -Emancipation Issue (haven't been here in a few months)

Discussion in 'Parent Emeritus' started by Dollhouse, Aug 24, 2009.

  1. Dollhouse

    Dollhouse Guest

    Hello all...

    I'm not sure if some will remember me, but I last posted here back on April 10th....

    For a recap: My 18yr old had come home from college last Oct. due to depression and smoking pot. Layed around for a few months and then had sort of an emotional breakdown in March; we had to call crisis. They only kept him for 4hrs and he was allowed back home with-some restrictions.

    The stipulation was that he HAD to go to counseling, which he started in March and just ended in August. In between this time, his father (my ex- we were never married) filed to emancipate my son, which would mean he does not want to continue to pay child support.

    I hired a lawyer to show that my son had emotional problems (and a history of it before and during high school), which caused the break in him NOT going to college. In my state, just because you are 18 does NOT mean child support stops: you have to show just cause why the child cannot support himself on his own. Also, if the child is in school, the father can still be ordered to pay support.

    In any case, we had a hearing in late May, the judge wanted a psychiatric. evaluation for my son. Well, the place my son was going said just two short weeks ago that my son is "fine" and sees no reason why he should not be able to support himself. HUH?!? This lady only saw him ONCE and she can make that decision on someone who had a substance abuse problem?? She wrote an evaluation, but it's NOT in my favor. Before you ask me to take my son somewhere else, I cannot. The judge wants the evaluation from the place my son had counseling.

    So...I cannot take him to another psychiatric doctor., so I will lose the case. The only other saving grace is if my son registers for community college full time. He was accepted, but has yet taken the placement test and the first session starts next week. I can't motivate him to do it. He is working right now p/t and has had the job for a month.

    Alot of you on here had suggested that my ex cannot emancipate him and to sue for court costs, etc. I tried to do that and lost that battle as well. I cannot even recoup my court fees (over $3K, which my now-husband paid for me).

    The court system stinks and now I will loose child support when the hearing takes place in late Sept.

    For a man to NOT have any contact with his child and to drag me to court multiple times, l(HE initiatied this court case) ive in a different state and not care. and last saw his child almost 4yrs ago (court ordered) -- I can't believe he will win this. I guess it's God's will. :sad-very: I have paid for counsleing, food, clothing for this kid and I'm the one stuck. Wow..life stinks.
  2. witzend

    witzend Well-Known Member

    I'm sorry that this turned out this way for you. I'm just guessing, but are you in NY State? The laws are very different there from most places, but I suppose it could be just as bad in other states.

    You have a week, so I suppose that as hopeless as it seems, I would work with that. The worst that can happen is always that things don't turn out as you would like them to. It's time to have a heart to heart with your son about what it will mean for him to be emancipated.

    He should understand that while it is his father that got this ball rolling, it's his own inaction on college that will allow it to play out. That leaves him without certain things that he now has access to. (I'm not clear whether that is only tuition - which is HUGE - or also medical and other services.) I will always regret that I didn't get a degree when I had a chance. I think most anyone feels that way.

    I assume you have a zero tolerance for drugs policy, and probably other rules in your house that he is not entirely happy with. I think that at this late date, all you can probably do is explain to him that if he lets this opportunity slide, should he ever decide that he wants to attend college and do something more than his part time job he will be at the mercy of his own credit. Also, he should consider that if there are rules at your house that he doesn't want to abide by, he may have to find a way to live elsewhere on his current salary.

    These aren't the decisions we would make for our kids. But, at this point it is the decision your son seems to be making for himself. All you can do is help him to understand what the consequences could be, and also help him to understand that many of us regret "the road not taken" for the rest of our lives. That road may have forced us into a temporarily more difficult stretch, but it would have made our lives so much easier in the long run.

    Of course, you will love him no matter what decision he makes, but if he decides to become emancipated, he'll have to accept the consequences like a man, not a boy.

    Good luck. Hopefully someone from NY where the laws are more like this will be able to give more insight. From what I recall, the courts aren't terribly invested in keeping the support there for the kids when they stray from the things that their parents have to offer and a parent wants out. I'm sorry that you're having to go through this.
  3. Dollhouse

    Dollhouse Guest

    ***I am not in NY state but NJ. And it wouldn't be my son that is ruling in the emancipation -- but the court.
  4. witzend

    witzend Well-Known Member

    I'm sorry. I read what you were saying as that if your son would take the placement test and get into college that the emancipation could be avoided. If not, you should probably disregard everything I said about that.

    Is there no way to stop the emancipation?
  5. Dollhouse

    Dollhouse Guest

    ***Yes, your statement about college is somewhat true. If he is enrolled FT, this could possibly be avoided. But it is up to my son whether he wants to go to school or not. He keeps saying he does, but his actions prove otherwise. All he has to do is do the placement test (which he has cancelled 3x's) and choose his courses! He was already accepted. Perhaps he's not ready..Since he left a 4yr college last Fall (he went away to another state), perhaps he feels he will fail again.

    Supposedly there is no other way to stop the emancipation (per my lawyer who is being a jerk). At least the court ruled that the father has to contribute towards the $15K college loan I took out last summer.

    It's very sad that for a child who has pre-existing emotional issues, that the treatment center he was going to for 5months says he is "ok". It makes me sick. I have a mind to call the director of the center and just voice my disappointment.

    I don't have the money or resources to continue with lawyer fees, etc. It's expensive and again -- the court ruled that I cannot recoup my money from my ex since HE took me to court. I just want to pack it all in. It's not fair.
  6. witzend

    witzend Well-Known Member

    I'm sorry for your troubles. I have been there done that with the psychiatric evaluations and family studies. Judges do what they do, and there's little you can do to stop them, even when you have the energy and the money.

    I hope your son will make good decisions for himself. Unfortunately, even when they need our help, at this age we can't force them to take it.