Once a child emancipates, child support ceases. However, each state may have a different law regarding exactly when a child emancipates. Some are at age 18, others at age 21. The most common prevailing date of emancipation is when a child turns 18 and has graduated from high school, or up to age 19 whichever occurs first. Also, specific clauses can be included in certain divorce orders that require the noncustodial parent to pay child support until a child graduates from college. Therefore, it is important that all parents know exactly what their court order says and exactly when their child emancipates in order to avoid overpayment problems.
If child support arrears are still owed, the noncustodial parent is still required to pay on the outstanding balance including interest until it is paid in full. Some parents opt to have the current child support amount continue and be applied to the outstanding arrears balance in order to get it paid off more quickly.
Once a child does emancipate if no past due child support arrears are owed, the case can be closed. Make sure all liens are lifted, wage assignments are recalled and tax intercepts withdrawn when a case is closed. Often times overworked caseworkers can forget to lift a hold on a driver’s license, or other assets and long after the case is closed, that will come back to haunt the noncustodial parent. It is much easier to make sure all enforcement actions have been canceled promptly than to get caught up in losing your driver’s license and have to contact the CSE agency a year later to resolve an outstanding issue that should have been done previously.
Here are some tips to keep your case running smoothly.
Useful Online Tools
Custody, Visitation & Support Modification
Resources & Tools
MAY DEVIATE – A judge has latitude to deviate from the established formulas for child support as he or she deems necessary for reasons such as, but not limited to, education, medical care, and/or disparate income levels.
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What Constitutes Emancipation to Release a Parent From a Child Support Obligation
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"A Plain English Guide to Protecting Your Children"
Author: Mary L. Boland, Attorney at Law
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