By Matt Allen
Emancipation is the point at which a minor comes of age. Child support is typically paid until the child reaches the age of emancipation, which is usually 18, 19, or 21 years old depending on the state.
Keep in mind, the courts can in their discretion order support to be paid after reaching the age of majority, but only under limited circumstances, such as during post-majority education (college), or where the child is mentally or physically disabled.
Also, support does not automatically terminate in most states. To stop the collection, you may have to file a motion with the court that originally ordered the support. You and your attorney will be able to discuss the procedure required in your state.
Read the list below to find out the age of emancipation in your state.
Alaska: 18, or 19 if unmarried and pursuing a high school diploma.
Arizona: 18, unless the child is still in high school in which case child support would continue while the child continues to attend high school but not beyond the child’s 19th birthday.
Arkansas: 18, or when the child should have graduated from high school.
Colorado: 19. If the child is still in high school, support may continue until the end of the month following graduation but not beyond age 21.
Connecticut: 19, or graduates high school, whichever occurs first.
Delaware: 18, or if the child is still in high school, until the child graduates or turns 19, whichever comes first.
Georgia: 20, or the child dies, graduates from high school, marries, is emancipated, or joins the military, whichever event occurs first.
Idaho: 18. If the child continues his/her high school education subsequent to reaching the age of 18, the court may order the continuation of support payments until the child discontinues his/her high school education or reaches the age of 19, whichever is sooner.
Illinois: Until the child graduates high school or reaches age 19, whichever occurs first.
Indiana: 21. However, in April 2012, the Indiana Legislature voted to lower the age of emancipation from 21 to 19, but exempts support for educational expenses. The new age of emancipation (19) takes effect July 1, 2012.
Iowa: 18, or 19 if the child is still in high school and is reasonably expected to graduate by age 19.
Kansas: 18, or until high school graduation if the child turns 18 while still in school.
Louisiana: 18. Child support can be ordered for a child past the age of majority if the child is unmarried, a full time student in good standing in a secondary school, and dependent on either parent.
Maine: 18, unless the child is attending secondary school. Then until the child graduates, withdraws or is expelled from secondary school or reaches 19 years of age, whichever occurs first; becomes married; or becomes a member of the armed services.
Maryland: 18, unless the child has turned 18 and is enrolled in secondary school then it is 19 or until they are no longer enrolled, whichever occurs first.
Massachusetts: 18, or when the child turns 21 if the child is living with a parent, or when the child turns 23 if the child is enrolled in an educational program.
Michigan: 18, but support may be extended until age 19 1/2 while completing high school.
Minnesota: 18, or when the child turns 20 if still attending high school.
Mississippi: Emancipation occurs when the child: reaches 21; or marries; or discontinues full-time enrollment in school and obtains full-time employment prior to attaining the age of 21; or voluntarily moves from the home of the custodial parent or guardian and establishes independent living arrangements and obtains full-time employment prior to turning 21.
Missouri: 18 with some exceptions. Child support terminates at age 18 or if the child turns 18 while still in high school then it shall terminate upon graduation from high school or age 21, whichever comes first.
Montana: 19, or graduates from high school, whichever comes first.
Nevada: 18, or 19 if the child is in high school and expects to graduate by age 19.
New Hampshire: 18 or when the child graduates high school, whichever is later.
New Jersey: 18, however emancipation is determined by the court on a case-by-case basis.
New Mexico: 18, may continue to 19 if the child is still in high school.
New York: 21
North Carolina: 18
North Dakota: 19, or when the child graduates from high school, whichever occurs first.
Ohio: 18, or as long as the child attends high school on a full-time basis or a court order requires the duty of support to continue. Unless specified in the court order, no duty of support extends beyond the child’s 19th birthday.
Oregon: Child support ends for any minor child who has become self-supporting, emancipated or married or who has ceased to attend school after becoming 18 years of age.
Pennsylvania: 18, or graduates from high school, which occurs later. 21, if deemed in special education.
Rhode Island: Child support can continue for children attending high school at the time of their 18th birthday and for 90 days after graduation, but in no case beyond their 19th birthday.
South Carolina: 18, or if the child is attending high school, then upon graduation or age 19, whichever occurs first.
South Dakota: 18, or until the child is 19 if the child is a full-time student in a secondary school.
Tennessee: 18, or when the child has graduated from high school during their normal and expected year of graduation, whichever occurs later.
Texas: 18, unless the child is in high school when he/she turns 18 then support continues until high school graduation.
Utah: 18, or when the child has graduated from high school during their normal and expected year of graduation, whichever occurs later.
Vermont: 18, or secondary school graduation, whichever occurs later.
Virginia: 18, or support may continue for any dependent child that is a full-time high school student and living in the home of the parent, until the child reaches age 19 or graduates from high school, whichever comes first.
Washington: 18, unless an administrative order is in force and the child is a full-time student expected to graduate before age 19.
Washington D.C.: 21
West Virginia: 18. Courts may order support extended up to 20 years as long as the child remains in secondary school and is making substantial progress toward a diploma.
Wisconsin: 18, unless the child is in high school then child support continues until age 19.
Note: State laws are not static and subject to change. Do not take any actions based upon the information provided without checking your divorce decree or consulting an attorney licensed in your state.
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