How can I prove emancipation before the child reaches the age of majority?

Question:Divorce lawyer Leslie Lorenzano

I am paying child support for my 19-year-old daughter in a state where the age of emancipation is 21. I believe my daughter is independent enough that I should not be required to continue to pay child support for her.

She has been living with her boyfriend for the past six month, but she is now going to a local community college.

Would I be able to stop paying child support before she turns 21 given this information?


In Indiana, there are a few ways to have a child declared emancipated prior to age 21.

In your case, your daughter would have to be 1) over 18, and 2) not be enrolled in post-secondary education for the prior four months, and 3) is capable of supporting herself through employment.

It sounds like you could have had your daughter declared emancipated by the court after she had been out of school for more than four months. However, since she is now enrolled in college, the court may not declare her emancipated at this time.

If she is only enrolled in school part-time, and could still obtain full-time employment, it’s possible that you could make the argument to the court that she is still capable of supporting herself, and should be emancipated.

But the court may be wary of emancipating her while enrolled in school if there’s the possibility that she may enroll full-time in the near future. If your daughter marries her boyfriend, then she could be declared emancipated by the court at that time.

Cordell & Cordell has divorce attorneys located nationwide.


Leslie Lorenzano is a Staff Attorney in the Indianapolis, Indiana office of Cordell & Cordell where she practices domestic relations exclusively. Ms. Lorenzano is licensed in the state of Indiana and the U.S. District Court Sothern District of Indiana. Ms. Lorenzano received her Bachelor of Arts in Sociology from Purdue University, and her Juris Doctor from the University of Arizona – James E. Rogers College of Law.

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