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Does a Non-Custodial Parent Have to Pay Child Support Until the Child Turns 18 or Until the Child Turns 21?

Under Mississippi law, child support payments may terminate when the child is "emancipated," which occurs when the child turns 21 or marries. The age of emancipation differs from state to state.

In Mississippi, a court may also find that emancipation has occurred if the child discontinues full-time enrollment in school after turning 18 unless:

  • he is disabled; or
  • voluntarily moves from the home of the custodial parent and establishes independent living arrangements, obtains full-time employment and discontinues educational endeavors prior to turning 21; or
  • joins the military and serves on a full-time basis; or
  • is convicted and incarcerated for a felony; or
  • cohabits with another person without the approval of the non-custodial parent.

Emancipation does not terminate any obligation to satisfy any arrearage existing as of the date of emancipation. Because the issue of emancipation is fact dependent, one should contact an attorney who has experience in family law matters if one believes his or her circumstances fit into any of the categories mentioned above.


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In order to file for divorce, one spouse must be a resident of Mississippi for at least six months before filing for divorce. However, for a divorce action, a person who is in the armed forces and stationed in Mississippi is considered to be a resident.
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