Come July 1st of 2012, non-custodial parents who are paying child support for a child over the age of 19 will be able to petition the court to terminate their child support obligation. Indiana, unfortunately, does not automatically terminate child support obligations. However, while a child support obligation may be terminated for a child at 19 years of age, educational expenses are exempt. Therefore, while the child support obligation may terminate, a child may petition the court for post-secondary (undergraduate) educational expenses. In order for this to occur, however, a petition for modification of post-secondary educational expenses must be filed before the child turns 21 (if the previous order was entered prior to June 30, 2012) or before the child turns 19 (if the previous order is entered after June 30, 2012).
- The child dies;
- The child turns 19 years of age;
- The child is legally emancipated;
- The child joins the armed services;
- The child is married;
- The child is no longer under the parent’s control; or
- The child is at least 18 years old, has not attended school in the past four months, and is capable of self support.
However, it is important to keep in mind that a court may order post-secondary educational expenses in lieu of other child support obligations if appropriate. The court will take into account the child’s aptitude and ability, and the child’s ability to contribute to his or her own educational expenses and the ability of the parents to meet the expenses. In addition, it is also important to note that child support may go on indefinitely for a child that is severely disabled and has no capacity to be a self-supporting adult.
In Indiana, while emancipation of a child warrants termination of child support, the death of a parent obligated to pay child support does not terminate the child support obligation. Instead, if the parent obligated to pay support dies, the amount of support may be modified or revoked to the extent just and appropriate under the circumstances on petition of representatives of the parent’s estate.
In addition, according to Norris v. Pethe, 833 N.E.2d 1024 (Ind. App. 2005), once a child turns 18 a child’s repudiation or complete refusal to have a relationship with one’s parent may cause that parent’s obligation to pay for child support expenses to cease.
If you are paying child support and fall under one of the above outlined categories for termination of your obligation, you should contact an attorney. We at Gordon Etzler & Associates, LLP have a wide breadth of experience in this area, and we can help. CALL FOR A FREE CONSULTATION TODAY. (219) 531-7787.