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Do You Still Have To Pay Child Support If Your Child Is An Emancipated Minor?


Raising teenagers is never easy, especially if you are divorced.  Even if your parenting plan has your kids residing with you for the majority of days in the year, you might feel like you rarely see them and what you say makes little impression on them, making the “physical custody” and “legal custody” provisions of the parenting plan you finalized when your kids were younger seem moot.  If you are not the residential parent, your weekends with your kids might turn into lunches or even “let’s not and say we did” weekends, as sports practices, work, and exam prep courses take the place of the time you and your kids used to spend together.  Despite all of this, and even if parenting teens is a thankless job, your obligation to pay child support for each child remains until the child turns 18, turns 19, or graduates from high school, whichever happens first.  The only way to terminate child support obligations earlier than this is if the parent terminates parental rights or if the child becomes legally emancipated.  To find out more about ending your child support obligations ahead of schedule, contact a Boca Raton child custody lawyer.

How Do Teens Become Emancipated Before They Reach Age 18?

In most cases, children become legally emancipated upon reaching the age of 18; this means that, starting on their 18th birthday, they count legally as adults, with all the rights and obligations that adults ordinarily have, including, among other things, the right to register to vote, to work more than 40 hours per week, and to marry.  Teens ages 16 or 17 can petition the court to become legally emancipated minors, which means that no adults, not even their parents, have legal custody of them.  Being legally emancipated as a teen gives you the right to marry and to live independently of your parents.  Legally emancipated minors still have to wait until their 18th birthday to register to vote and to work overtime.  Becoming a parent before age 18 does not automatically make you a legally emancipated minor.

Emancipated Minors and Child Support

If your child becomes legally emancipated before age 18, your child support obligations end as soon as the court approves the application for emancipation of the minor.  Teen parents can also be parties in child support cases, but they must be legally emancipated in order to receive child support or to be obligated to pay it.  If your teen has a baby, the court will assume that you and your ex-spouse, pursuant to the child support order, are the main source of financial support.  If your teen wants their ex to pay child support, then both teen parents will first need to go through the process of legal emancipation.

Contact Schwartz | White About Child Support and Teens

A South Florida family law attorney can help you work out issues of co-parenting if your child becomes a parent before age 18.  Contact Schwartz | White in Boca Raton, Florida about your case.

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