- Is my stepson moving out and having a full-time job considered emancipation so I would no longer have to pay child support?
- Can I get child custody without filing for a legal separation or divorce?
My stepson has turned 18, has moved out of his mother’s house to live with his girlfriend and has a full time job. My court order states that I have to pay child support until he is 19 years old. Is him moving out and having a full time job considered emancipation?
In Colorado, child support usually last until the child in question reaches the age of 19 (the default age for emancipation in CO). However, there are several situations that can change the age of emancipation. Section 14-10-115(13) list the following conditions that may change the determination as to whether a child has emancipated:
(I) an agreement by the parties that emancipation will occur at a different age then 19
(II) if the child is mentally or physically disabled, the court may order child support, including payments for medical expenses or insurance or both, to continue beyond the age of nineteen
(III) if the child is still in high school or an equivalent program, support continues until the end of the month following graduation. A child who ceases to attend high school prior to graduation and later reenrolls is entitled to support upon reenrollment and until the end of the month following graduation but not beyond the age of twenty-one
(IV) if the child marries, emancipation occurs at the date of the marriage
(V) if the child enters into active military duty, emancipation occurs
Those are the statutory qualifications with regards to emancipation. Therefore, he is not automatically considered emancipated based on the facts you proved. However, it still may be possible to get your support payments modified but it depends on the language in your Separation Agreement / Parenting Plan. For example, there could be a provision in your Separation Agreement stating that when a change of physical care occurs, the provisions for child support may be modified.
I recommend that you schedule a consultation with an attorney to discuss your options in this matter. Cordell & Cordell, P.C. has offices located in Boulder, Denver, and Colorado Springs for your convenience.
My wife is going away to a mental health clinic. Without filing for a legal separation or divorce can I get custody with her agreement?
Let me begin your answer with a caveat; I am licensed to practice in Colorado and can only give you information regarding Colorado laws.
I am curious as to why you believe you would need “custody” of your children in the event that your wife attends treatment. If you are the parent to the children, you and your wife have equal legal rights to the children. Therefore, you already possess a right to have your children in your care. However, if there is a question regarding the filing of a legal separation or if you believe there is another situation that exist that would require a ‘custody’ arrangement it can be done without the current filing of a legal separation or divorce proceeding.
In Colorado, the term ‘custody’ does not exist in the courts. The term ‘allocation of parental responsibility’ is used. You may file with the Court a Petition for Allocation of Parental Responsibility. If you and your wife can reach an agreement on this, you can submit to the Court the agreed Parenting Plan. If you do not plan on filing for a legal separation, you will most likely get a Temporary Order regarding the allocation of parental responsibility. However, if the Court were to find that under the circumstances of the parents and the best interest of the child, it is required that a decree concerning the allocation of parental responsibility be made, it will do so. The parenting plan that is submitted to the court needs to address both parenting time and decision making authorities.
I would recommend talking with an attorney in your area concerning local laws and Court filing requirements. Much of the information can be found on your Court’s local website.
Marlana D. Anderson is a Staff Attorney in the Denver, Colorado office of Cordell & Cordell P.C., where her primary practice is exclusively in the area of domestic relations. Ms. Anderson is licensed in the state of Colorado. Ms. Anderson graduated cum laude from Christopher Newport University in Newport News, Virginia, where she majored in Philosophy with a concentration in Critical Thinking and minored in Political Science. She received her Juris Doctorate from Nova Southeastern University located in Ft. Lauderdale, Florida, where she graduated magna cum laude and was ranked seventh in her class.