Stopping Child Support Before Child Reaches Age of Emancipation

child supportQuestion:

Do child support laws allow for a child to be emancipated before reaching the actual legal age of emancipation?

In my state, emancipation is 21. However, my daughter is 19, hasn’t attended school in two years, and has her own child she receives child support and food stamps for.

Would the court grant an emancipation based on these facts even though she is not 21 yet? What if she enrolls in school after I file for emancipation simply to keep my child support payments?


This answer only includes general divorce help for men since I am only licensed to practice in Indiana and am thus unable to provide any legal advice on divorce on the child support laws in other states.

According to Indiana law (I.C. 31-16-6-6), a child is not emancipated until they turn 21 years of age.

Related Article: What Is The Age Of Emancipation In Your State?

There are multiple ways that a child who is not yet 21 can be emancipated for the purposes of child support.

These methods include a child marrying, joining the U.S. Armed Services, not living in the care or control of either parent.

Additionally, a child may be emancipated if it can be shown that a child who is:

a) at least 18 years of age;

b) has not attended a secondary school or post-secondary educational institution for the prior four months and is not enrolled in a secondary school or post-secondary educational institution; and

c) is or is capable of supporting herself through employment can be emancipated.

As is common with law, there is an exception to this rule also. If the court does find that A, B and C from above are met but that the child is only partially supporting or capable of only partially supporting herself, then the court may simply modify the support to reflect the child’s ability to provide in part for themselves.

To answer your question, it will depend on how the court reads part C above. The child support she receives is for the support of her child and is not income to her for the purposes of being employed.

Furthermore, the fact that she is not working to support herself, but rather receives assistance from the government would indicate that she is not capable of supporting herself.

This is not to suggest that it is impossible to have your daughter emancipated under these grounds, but rather that there may be circumstances which a judge may use to deny your request to emancipate. An attorney could help you evaluate the details better and provide a more complete synopsis.

The time you and your attorney file for the emancipation will be in part determinative of whether or not she has been enrolled in the previous four months.

If your daughter enrolls in school prior to your filing for an emancipation the court may, although not likely, find that she is enrolled for the purposes of not allowing emancipation.

Whether or not the court places conditions on her enrollment is another factor that an attorney would be able to assist you with.

Please understand that my opinions are based upon the limited facts that you provided to me. For a more in depth discussion of fathers rights and financial advice on divorce, I urge you to contact a family law attorney

To set up an appointment with a Cordell & Cordell mens divorce attorney, including Nathan A. Hacker, an Associate Attorney in Indianapolis, please contact Cordell & Cordell.

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