Child support is frequently a contentious issue between parents. One parent may resent the amount of the child support payment they give or receive. Another may feel as though the money they provide is being misused.
Parents who have child support obligations may wonder when that obligation will end. In the state of Colorado, the standard is to halt court-ordered child support once the child has been emancipated.
This is when the child is legally recognized as an adult. For the most part, this happens when the child turns 19. However, there are some things to keep in mind concerning the support obligations.
Emancipation And High School Students
The purpose of creating an 'age of majority' is to establish an age where people are generally financially and legally responsible for themselves.
In the U.S.A, this age was once 21 but has since been changed to 19. However, after the changes took place, it was recognized that some individuals turned 19 while still in high school.
Because high school students are dependent financially on at least one parent in almost all cases, an exception to the law was created. Parents with students still in high school are obligated to continue child support payments even if their child turns 19. Their support obligation terminates a month after the child graduates. If the child stops attending school, child support ends as well.
However, the obligation will start again if the child re-enrolls. In any case, child support for a student in high school will never extend beyond the child’s 21st birthday.
Child Support and Disabilities
If a child is physically or mentally disabled and dependent upon parents for care, the child support obligation will continue as long as the disability is present. However, if the disability occurs after the child turns 19, child support may not be ordered.
There are situations where a child may be considered emancipated before they turn 19. For example, if a child gets married or joins the military, child support normally ends. The same goes for children who are employed and living independently.
Here's how Someone Under 19 can get emancipated in Colorado:
1. Get married
2. Join the military
3. Prove that you are self-sufficient by conduct
4. Petition the court for early emancipation
If your child is deemed emancipated, you may no longer need to pay child support. However, circumstances vary. There are situations where a request that child support is continued will be honored by the court. For example, a child working to cover educational expenses may still be entitled to child support benefits.
Voluntary Continuation of Support
Obviously, parents are not forced to stop providing financial support when the child becomes emancipated. Many parents opt to pay support while the child is enrolled in college or some other milestone is met.
Divorced or never-married couples may also opt to enter an agreement on their own relating to child support. However, doing so without getting advice from an experienced family lawyer in Adams country or your local area is a bad idea.
If you think that you have grounds to argue an exception to the rules outlined above, get in touch with one of our child support lawyers in Brighton. We’d be delighted to provide sound advice on moving forward.