Child Support: Age of Emancipation In Your State

child support emancipation 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.

Alabama: 19

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.

California: 18

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.

Florida: 18

Georgia: 20, or the child dies, graduates from high school, marries, is emancipated, or joins the military, whichever event occurs first.

Hawaii: 19

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.

Kentucky: 18

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.

Nebraska: 19

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.

Oklahoma: 18

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.

Wyoming: 18


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.

Cordell & Cordell has divorce lawyers located nationwide.


Sources: DadsDivorce Divorce Laws By State and Support

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52 Comments on "Child Support: Age of Emancipation In Your State"

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Riley smith
3 days 15 hours ago

What if you live in kentucky and the child turns 18 next month he won’t have a diploma because he hates school, how do you get it to stop ?

4 days 14 hours ago
My wife and i divorced several years ago and have three children together (we live in SC). The divorce decree states that i pay child support for each of the children until they turn 18 or graduate high school, whichever is later. The decree also states that i claim the middle child on my taxes as an exemption. My son turned 18 last fall (in 2015) and will graduate in May of 2016. We are recalculating the child support, but my wife thinks that she should be able to claim my son on her taxes in 2016 because i will… Read more »
1 month 14 hours ago

okay if i live in tennessee and i graduate high school at my normal time and im 17 can i move out? i want to live with my dad but hes in another state so custody is hard. Im in an unhealthy stage at home and i want out of it. I graduate highschool in two weeks.

Lexi Scott
1 month 23 days ago

What if I live in Kansas with my dad and my mom lives in Nebraska paying child support. I want to move out because I am 18 but my dad tells me since my mom can pay child support on me until im 19, he has custody until i’m 19. but i live in kansas and then age of majority is 18. I think he is just saying this so he can still get the money. Can i move out legally after i graduate in may?

1 month 13 days ago

My understanding is if you’re a permanent resident of Kansas (not just visiting), you would follow Kansas emancipation laws. A child support order is for child support only. It can’t change the emancipation laws of another state/jurisdiction. You can always talk to someone at a free legal clinic for more information.

3 months 4 days ago
I have 2 boys in the state of Minnesota. My oldest will be turning 18 this yr.According to our divorce decree it states emanicipation of a child at the age of 18 or graduated whichever comes FIRST but he actually doesn’t graduate till nxt yr 19.So I have 3 questions. .1 will the courts still have me continue to pay child support because he is not yet graduated even though it’s stated in our divorce decree whichever comes 1st? ..2nd If indeed he is emancipated will my child support be lowered then? 3rd My son is now under the care… Read more »
1 month 13 days ago

Are you sure your Decree states “first”? Because if your Decree states “whichever comes first”, basically it’s saying that if a child graduates at 17, they’re emancipated (?) and that’s contradictory to MN emancipation laws which states the definition of a child is “under 18”.

Shariquia w
1 month 23 days ago

My husband has two children 15 & 18. Oldest turned 18 Aug of 2015, husband called today to update his information due to landing a new job and also to inquire why he was still paying child support for his oldest child because per VA law when the child has turned 18 and graduates high school support by the non custodial parent will stop. But he was told that his court order States that the would have to continue to provide support until both children are over the age of 18. Has anyone else on VA experienced this

1 month 13 days ago

Child support agencies must follow the provisions outlined in a parties’ court order. In most states, if the order doesn’t specify a “per child” amount or have a provision that support decreases then the oldest child turns 18, then support would continue, unchanged, until the youngest child turns 18. The father of the children can always seek legal advice on how to modify the order.

Paul Artrip jr
4 months 4 days ago

I got 3 kids and my wife don’t work how much will it cost me in child support and we r married for 13 yrs but just renting not buying

Bruce Kennedy
8 months 6 days ago

I live in South Carolina and i was never ordered to pay child support! she wouldn’t let me have a paternity test! She and the Baby moved to Texas! Now the Girl age 18 wants to find out if i am her biological father! I have agreed to take a DNA test if i am proven to be the father do i have to pay back child support???

Chris Walsh
9 months 9 days ago
I go to court again for a support issue. Our agreement states ex husband will pay for college tuition but actually because I am very poor, I have been able to get alot of financial aid for him. The ex went to court and terminated cs because son took a semester off and then went back the following, he has one more semester of college to complete 2 BA’s. Son was kept back from school in kindergarten, hence he started elementary school as a 7 year old which means he would not have been able to finish college by age… Read more »
11 months 15 days ago

my son will be 21 years old I live in New York State it’s his third year in college do I still have to pay child support to the mother where can I pay him directly or can I stop paying child support altogether please help

1 year 2 months ago

My dad hasnt paid child-support since i was 7 yrs old. My mom filed child supoort in New jersey. But when i was 8 we moved to pennsylavnia because my dad stopped paying-he moved to mexico.I am currently 17 and i know where he lives (north carolina-been living there for 5 yrs now) i want to take him to court and claim the money because i need the money for college. How can i do this ? I cant affored a lawyer ?? Please help!!