For those who pay and receive child support in Indiana, the age of emancipation was changed from 21 to 19 years of age - which means that those who are paying child support are not required to pay after the child's 19th birthday.
Supporters of this law said it was based fairness. Parents who are still married are not obligated to support their children financially until they turn 21, making it legally unfair for divorced parents to be required to pay support for their adult children.
There are some exceptions to the emancipation rules that allow a parent to cease child support even before the child turns 19. If a child goes into active duty in the military, gets married, is not being cared for by either parent, or is not enrolled in a secondary school or college, then the parent paying child support may petition the court to be relieved of that obligation.
Even if a child is emancipated, it is noteworthy that there may still be financial obligations based on an order for college contributions and related expenses.
Child support in Indiana is handled by the Indiana Supreme Court and is based on its Child Support Rules and Guidelines. Child support is determined by how much financial support a child would have been entitled to receive if his or her parents had stayed together. In order to determine this, the court looks at both parents' gross income, which can include salaries, overtime pay, pensions, alimony, unemployment or workers compensation benefits or commissions received from a job.
Once the court decides how much child support a parent should pay, that parent is obligated to pay that amount until the child is emancipated. If the parent does not pay, there are a number of ways that the child support order can be enforced, including through income tax refund interceptions, wage garnishments and motor vehicle liens. In extreme cases, the parent who does not pay his or her child support obligations may be imprisoned.
If you need help with a child support matter, or any other issue that comes up during the course of your divorce, contact a qualified family law attorney who can advise you of your rights and help you navigate your way through the court system. These issues can be complicated and stressful, so it is best to have an experienced legal advocate by your side to help you get through them.