Emancipation Of A Minor

If you are paying child support pursuant to a court order, you may wonder when the obligation to pay support will end. In Missouri, the general rule is that child support ends when a child becomes emancipated (i.e., granted adult status and freed from the legal control of his or her parents or guardians), which is usually when the child turns 18 or upon their graduation from high school, whichever comes later.

There are exceptions to this general rule, however, which can prolong the child support obligation. The most common being the post-secondary educational institution exception — which can prolong the support obligation to the child's 21st birthday.

Is My Kid Really Going To College Or Vo-Tech?

For a child to remain eligible for child support under this exception, they or their custodial parent must report information from the school to the noncustodial, support-providing parent. Missouri law provides that the support payments must continue while the child is attending and progressing toward completion of the post-secondary program.

To prove they are progressing through the program, the child or custodial parent has a duty to report information from the school to the noncustodial parent — including transcripts, grades and credits for each course taken and an official school document listing the courses the child is enrolled in for the upcoming term.

Emancipate Your Child To End The Support Obligation

But what if your child or the custodial parent does not supply this information, which is required by law? Or what if your child has only taken one two-credit class and had failing grades the preceding semester?

At Martsching Law Firm, LLC, I am a lawyer who can help you put an end to support obligations that have continued for too long. When your child or the custodial parent takes advantage of the child support system, and your willingness to contribute to your child's upbringing, you have a legal right to put an end to it by moving the court to initiate child emancipation proceedings.

For more information about emancipation of a minor, contact a knowledgeable, experienced family law attorney. You can reach me by filling out my online contact form or calling my Liberty, Missouri, law office at 816-832-2555.