A New Jersey appeals court has upheld a decision to sever child support
to an adoptive daughter this week. The young woman, now 22, was appealing
the 2013 decision that barred her from receiving support from her adoptive
father while she has taken up residence with her biological father.
According to nj.com, Adrianna Shewchuk was seeking money from James Shewchuk, who adopted
her and married her biological mother, Lisa, in 1994. James and Lisa have
since divorced and Adrianna has been living with her biological father
since 2012. Still, she felt that she deserved support from James Shewchuk
under the Uniform Parentage Act, which allows "adult children"
to receive child support to up until age 23 for education costs.
However, Uniform Parentage Act does not allow for continued support if
the child has been emancipated. Both Shewchuks had asserted that Adrianna
was—an opinion Adrianna tried to counter. In the appeals ruling,
the courts agreed with the Shewchuks and wrote "She [Adrianna] simply
withdrew from her parents' supervision and control, obtained part-time
employment, sporadically attended school and arranged for her support
in reliance upon the financial relationship she entered into with her
biological father and his wife."
Clarity Provided During Complex Circumstances
The Shewchuks' case is a prime example of how complex a family's
circumstances can become when parsing a legal issue. In this case, divorce,
adoption, child support, and emancipation were all factors that needed
to be carefully weighed. In the end, the court was right uphold the decision
to sever child support: for children over 18, it is up to them to prove
that they have not been emancipated, which Adrianna was unable to do while
sharing a residence with her biological father.
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