Do I Have To Keep Paying Child Support if My Child Is Emancipated By the Court? 12

About: Emancipation

Supporting Your Child After Emancipation

Child support is intended to continue throughout your child’s life until they are either emancipated or until an age or milestone specified in the child support order (from the court) is reached. This means that, depending upon your particular order, you may be expected to pay child support until your child reaches the age of 18 or 21 or until your child graduates from college. Again, it depends upon your specific order and the child support laws in your state.

Assuming that your child support order only requires you to pay support until your child achieves legal emancipation, a court order emancipating the child may also satisfy the requirement of your child support order and child support payment will no longer be required.

This is true even if the child has not yet reached the age of majority as an emancipation order is the equivalent of declaring a child to be an adult. Once emancipation has been granted, the custodial parent will no longer have any obligation to support the child financially and this rule applies to child support from the non-custodial parent as well.

But before you simply stop paying child support, you should consult an attorney to verify that your child’s emancipation order will, in fact, nullify your obligation to pay support. You may even need to file for the emancipation yourself if your child meets the legal requirements for emancipation (i.e., your child has married or is in the U.S. military, for example). A court hearing may even be required.

In some states, the law allows for a partial emancipation, meaning that while the child is granted some rights normally reserved for adults, they are still entitled to parental support and supervision. In these case, you would likely be expected to continue paying support until the specified age or milestone is reached.

To prevent any legal problems, have your attorney review both your child support order and your child’s emancipation order to determine your best course of action.


  • Rae B,

    My 16 yr old son has been proven to be a father. I pay his father child support. Because my son is now a “father” but is still a minor, am I still responsible to pay child support?

  • If a custadial parent has been uder investagation for neglect is the none custodial suppost to be notified? also when the child has been removed from the home should the none custodial parent get full rights also if the court falsefie doucments by placeing the fathers last name on the childs name to only keep the father from making it a point that the mother has yet to do so by court order this is in the state of indiana

  • shugsshack

    I have 2 kids and 1 of my daughter got emancipated in 07 and married in 07. I have provided proof that she was to the child support agency, requesting it be divided or changed and nothing happened in virginia. We all live in Texas now. I am still paying for her as of 10. Can I back up and get refunded for this? Can the mother get in trouble for not reporting this and that she is in texas receiving virginia help?

  • Dewayne

    I am currently paying child support for my daughter who will be 21 in July. I was always told that I was required to pay child support for her until the age of 21, but have since found out that I was only supposed to pay until the age of emancipation which is 18 or 19 if she was still in high school which she was not. I owe a little in arrearage so I still expected them to take payments, but I don’t think that the payments are being applied to my arrearage. How can I check this, and am I required to petition for the regular payments to stop and just be applied to my arrearage? If so, what are the steps that I should follow? I am trying to figure out where I can get a little breathing room because I currently support a household of 6 on my salary alone. Like I stated earlier my daughter is due to turn 21 in a few months and I have 4 small children at home. Payments are taken directly out of my check and my tax refund is offset every year and sent straight to my daughter. I know that my daughter deserves her money, but I am wondering is there anything I can do so I can get some of the money at tax time to put towards my other children’s needs, or do you think I can have my payments decreased since my daughter now works full-time herself, and since my financial situation is worst off then it was when my child support order was first put in place for her? Also when I have finally paid my arrearage down what are the steps to stop my payments all together?

    • Richard Cole

      File for a child support modification “NOW” There are only 3 states that are 21 and they are NY, MS, IN, but as of July,1st 2012 IN is now 19

  • Tina Guyette

    My husband has a son who is now 17. He had lived with us since he was 4 due to the fact his mother couldn’t take care of it properly. From the age of 4 til he was 14, he rarely saw his mother, she picked him up maybe once a month to every other month, then she spent 3 yrs in prison for having a meth lab. She got out when he was 13. She was able to see him supervised for a while then he was allowed to visit her house with restrictions. When he turned 14, he told us he wanted to never go to his mother’s again, we gave him a few months to really think about and not make a rash decision bc he is mad at her but if that is what he wanted we would consult a lawyer. He didn’t see her much at all during this time. Then one weekend he came home from his moms and he said he wanted to go there and live. My husband said NO. Child said he was going to do whatever it took to go there. In the next 6-8 months, his grades started dropping, started getting in trouble at school, disrespectful at home, which he didn’t do before, we had him in counseling, then he started getting in trouble with the law, vandelized a teachers car, stole money from school, he stole money and then my husband’s gun, he said to run away and keep safe etc…During going to court for all of this we were doing everything the PO and the judge told us to do. The last court appearance the judge talked to my husband and said she has to give him a chance at his mothers before she puts him in foster care or DJJ. So he went to his mother (in another state but only an hr away). He was there 3 weeks in school and got arrested for having pot on his, running from the police. He was kicked out of that High school, went to another, kicked out of that one, then sent to alternative school and finally kicked out of that one. Now our hands are tied bc he can NOT come back to our house because when he left, our 7 yr old daughter had a hard time with him gone and didn’t understand, she pulled every piece of hair out of her head til she was bald) we sought counseling for her and she is now going to be 11 and is doing great but at the time it was recommended by her psychologist that he not be brought back in the household. So now in the 2.5 yrs that he has been gone, he now has another arrest record for domestic violence a week ago, no education bc there are no more school up there for him to go to, he is on probation and has failed 3 drug tests and walked out of a court ordered rehab after 4 days. My husband for the first almost 2 yrs, called him and called numerous times a week, no call backs, he has gone up there to see him and he won’t see him…he tells my husband that he is to strict and doesn’t want anything to do with him. He wants to have no rules, or consequences and he has that at his moms. His mother now lives with her boyfriend and the 17 yrs lives in her trailer by himself and she comes by here and there, does not get him food or clothing. The girlfriend has told us this, we have called DSS and the Sheriff multiple times and she will come home to him, lie so she continues to get social services, and child support which is $800 a month, she doesn’t work, and doesn’t take care of what the child’s need are. He has now become a father last month. My husband has beat himself up for 2.5 yrs now not knowing what to do. He got a call from his son on saturday, tell him to stay out of his life, he loves his life on the street, doing drugs, being mixed up with the cops, and there is nothing he can do about…My husband has decided that he does not want to be responsible for his actions if he hurts someone from robbing a place, or a drug deal gone bad, thats when the parents get sued…etc….so after 6 months of thinking about it, talking with his probation officer trying to get him help before he ends up in jail or worse… he has decided to look into emancipation to have no legal responsibility. In the state that he lives in you can emancipate a child under what is called Incorrigible Children…has anyone heard of this? or been through this? Trying to find anything we can on the ups and downs. My husband has always covered him on his insurance, we pay co-pays and what the insurance doesn’t pay, $800 in child support, clothes every year, dentist and vision, how does that effect those things? We will keep doing them things until he is 18 (in 7 months). Legally for criminal purposes we don’t want to be responsible.

  • bernice

    if some one is suppose to be paying child support but is in a rehab for alcohol does he or she have to still pay child support

  • James

    I pay child support for 2 girls by the same woman. One of my daughters who is 18 yrs old had moved out from her moms home, stayed with me and my current wife for 10 months, then she went back home to her mom. She was there for 4 months, she then moved out on her own and decided to live with one of her cousins. At that time she wrote a letter that I had gotten notarized and submitted to the court, it said ” I_____ hereby acknowledge that I no longer reside with my mom at said address, as of said date, My current address is such and such. Prior to me moving back into my moms place, I lived with my father from the time of such to time of such.” During this time the court had taken her off of the support because I had shown proof that she emancipated herself. She now has returned once againg to her moms home. Since during this time that she was away the court has taken her off, can she now be placed back on support?

  • Rich

    I am paying child support on my daughter that is 21 soon to be 22 and has been attending a community college since out of high school. I have never been sent her credit hours and or grades during her tenure. What do I need to do in the state of Missouri to remove her from support? Is there a form that I need to fill out to petition the courts?

  • m&m

    Yes my daughter got married in Dec 2011 & turned 21 in Jan of this year…Ms age is 21 plus being married…what do I have 2 do to get it st

  • concerned

    I live in Mississippi and my husband is paying child support for his daughter that lives in Kentucky. The legal age to stop payment in MS is 21 but in Kentucky it is 18 zoo anyone know which state law he should go by to stop payment?

  • lete

    I live in Nevada,my question is once the child turns 18 if she goes to college do you still have to pay child support