Child Support: When Is A Child Considered Emancipated?

St. Louis divorce lawyerQuestion:

My child support question is about the child support laws regarding emancipation.

My daughter recently turned 18, which I thought was the age of emancipation, but she is still in high school.

She graduates in May and has no plans for pursuing any further education.

When should my child support obligation terminate? When she turned 18? When she graduates?


I am unable to give you legal advice on divorce. I can give general divorce help for men, though, my knowledge is based on Missouri child support laws where I am licensed to practice.

Each state has specific laws regarding when a child emancipates for purposes of child support. Where I practice, child support payments generally terminate when a minor child reaches age 18.

However, the statute also states that child support shall continue even if the child is 18 provided that the child is enrolled in and attending high school or any other secondary school program.

Thus, if a child is enrolled in high school and continues to progress towards the completion of their degree, child support is to continue until the child either completes the program or reaches age 21, whichever occurs first.

Additionally, pursuant to the above-referenced statute, if the child enrolls in college or any other form of higher education, no later than the first day of October following graduation from high school, child support will generally continue until the completion of the program or the child’s 21st birthday, whichever occurs first.

Applying this statute to your case, despite your concern about your son not graduating, provided that he is currently enrolled in high school you are required by law to pay child support.

Whether it is in your best interests to continue paying upon his May graduation (or his failure to graduate in May) depends on a number of factors, including whether you are voluntarily paying child support or whether it is being garnished from your wages.

Remember, I am unable to provide you with anything more than divorce tips for men, so please consult with a divorce lawyer in your jurisdiction.

To arrange an initial consultation to discuss divorce rights for men with a Cordell & Cordell attorney, including St. Louis Divorce Lawyer Brittany Brown, contact Cordell & Cordell.

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