Creve Coeur & O'Fallon, MO Emancipation Attorneys
When does a child support obligation end?
In Missouri, child support terminates upon the earliest of the following: the death of the child; the marriage of the child; enters active duty in the military; becomes self-supporting and has been relinquished from parental control; reaches age eighteen, unless enrolled in appropriate schooling; or reaches age twenty-one, unless physically or mentally incapacitated and incapable of self-support.
When a child becomes self-sufficient and leaves the parental nest, or reaches eighteen without enrollment in appropriate schooling, the law deems the child emancipated and no longer in need of child support.
So…your child reaches age eighteen. Do your child support obligations stop? Yes, unless your child has not graduated high school or earned a GED, in which case support continues until completion of the high school degree or GED or reaches the age of twenty-one. Yes, the law gives your child an extra two to three years to finish high school, because some children start schooling late, become ill or encounter other obstacles, including repeating a grade.
So…your child graduates high school or earns a GED. Do your child support obligations stop? Yes, unless your child is enrolled in an institution of vocational or higher education no later than October 1 following the completion of high school or the GED. Tech schools, community college and four year colleges all count equally as vocational or higher education. However, enrollment is not enough: the child must take at least 12 hours of courses each semester, earn grades sufficient for continued enrollment the following semester and provide both parents with full documentation of enrollment and grades, including proof by an official transcript.
So…your child enters a higher or vocational education program. Do your child support obligations continue until age twenty-one? Not necessarily. The law requires the child keep both parents informed of official enrollment documents and official transcripts showing academic credits every semester. If the course load drops below twelve hours, that could potentially trigger a termination issue, unless medical or learning disabilities or fifteen hours or more of weekly employment justify the lower course load.
While these are the basic outline of emancipation issues, in practice they can be more complex. While the law encourages children have support to attend and complete higher education, the law also recognizes that a parent should not have to support that pursuit indefinitely. Only an attorney with sufficient experience and expertise can properly advise you with regard to the duration of your support obligations.
At The Marks Law Firm, L.L.C, we have over fifty years of combined experience handling family law matters. We help individuals understand their rights with regard to all issues, including emancipation and child support. We do all required discovery, and will try your case before the judge if we cannot reach a settlement. We have handled hundreds of trials before family court judges; if you choose The Marks Law Firm, L.L.C., you will have the benefit of a family law attorney unafraid to go to court, advocate on your behalf and fully present your case.
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Time is of the essence. As soon as you select The Marks Law Firm, L.L.C. to represent you, we will immediately put our considerable experience and resources to work on your case. The sooner we can review the necessary information, the sooner we can formulate a strategy for your unique circumstances, helping to ensure the best possible outcome.
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