Generally speaking, parents are expected to financially support their children until those children become adults. In most cases, this means that a Georgia non-custodial parent would be expected to pay child support until the child legally becomes an adult, by the terms of the state. However, if a child becomes emancipated before turning 18 years of age, the parent may not be obligated to continue to pay child support to the parent with custody of the child.
What Would Constitute Emancipation?
There are a few different situations that could constitute a child being emancipated. For example, the child could decide to sign up for the military and leave home for any of the four services. A child could also get married, or go through the court process to legally become emancipated and move out of the custodial parent’s home and become financially independent.
Can I Stop Paying Child Support?
Even if a child joins the military and leaves home, or moves out of the custodial parent’s house, the non-custodial parent should still continue to pay child support requirements. We understand that this could seem unfair to the non-custodial parent. Why should you have to continue to pay when the child is no longer living with the custodial parent? Essentially, this is to protect yourself from any repercussions that could occur if the court were to determine that the child support should still be paid.
If the court decides that you were not responsible for paying child support after the child moved out or became emancipated, you will be owed the money back that you paid. In some cases, though, you may still be required to pay child support for a child, even after emancipation. For instance, if your child gets married and then gets divorced while still a minor, your child support payments may stop during the marriage, but then recommence once the divorce is final.
When Does our Obligation to our Children Truly End?
Another possible exception to child support and emancipation rules could be special needs children. If a minor has special needs, the non-custodial parent might be required to continue to pay child support even after the child becomes an adult. If parents have agreed to pay money toward their child’s college tuition, that is also taken into consideration. The parenting agreement most likely covers a number of financial obligations throughout the child’s life and into college years that could override an emancipation.
There is absolutely no law that states that if a child becomes an adult, or becomes emancipated, the parents are no longer financially responsible for that child. In fact, if you think about parents who are not divorced or separated, with children, they are often helping their children out financially through college and beyond. So, you may have to take a trip to court and enter a request for the child support payments to be terminated if your child has been emancipated.
If you need help with this, or you have questions, feel free to contact one of our experienced Georgia family law attorneys. Call the law offices of Vayman & Teitelbaum today at 678-736-7700 for a free consultation.