Written by: Ben Olson
Question: Does child support automatically stop when my child turns eighteen?
Answer: Unfortunately, there is no “one size fits all” answer to this question. In most cases, child support automatically ends when the youngest child in the family has (1) turned eighteen, and (2) graduated from high school. Read the discussion below to learn more.
Discussion: In Minnesota, child support automatically ends when the youngest child in the family legally “emancipates.” Whether a child has legally emancipated can depend on any number of circumstances. Most important are the child’s age, whether he or she has graduated from high school, whether he or she has special needs, and the language of the relevant child support order or agreement.
In most cases, a child is legally emancipated if he or she has turned eighteen and graduated from high school. Both must be true. Your child may emancipate earlier or later, however, depending on the language of your child support order. For example, your child support obligation may end early if your child enlists in the military or gets married. Or you may have agreed to pay child support through college.
Summary: Your child support order or agreement should describe when your obligation ends. If you are having trouble understanding your child support order or agreement, you should speak with an attorney. This may be especially important if you have children of different ages, because many child support obligations are not automatically lowered when the oldest child emancipates.
Ben Olson is a family law attorney at Tuft, Lach, Jerabek & O’Connell, PLLC. He focuses his practice on cases involving child support, child custody, parenting time, and orders for protection. Visit his bio here to learn more about Ben.
This article is meant to provide general information about Minnesota law. Do not rely on this information as a substitute for personal legal advice, which should be based on all relevant information relating to your individual circumstances. This information may not accurately describe the law in other states.