Child Support And Emancipation Of One Child On The Order
Over the last several weeks, we have received questions on emancipation since it is graduation season! In an effort to shed a little light on the subject, we offer the following question and answer:
My divorce agreement does not mention what happens to my child support payment when my oldest child becomes emancipated and I am still responsible for paying child support for my youngest.
The question addresses a rather typical problem of what to do when one child becomes emancipated and there are other children still on the order and under the age of 18 years old.
First, emancipation can occur as a result of several events, the most common of which is reaching the age of 18 or 21, depending on your state’s child support laws.
If the oldest child is going to be emancipated, you would be able to apply to the court for a modification of support. The tricky thing here is that your support amount may not necessarily go down if you do seek a modification, in fact, it could go up. The calculation will be based on what you earn now, not your income at the time the support was originally calculated and any arrears will be reviewed as well. The bottom line here is that if your salary has increased since your support amount was first calculated, and you have not had your support payment modified to reflect that increase, then you may not actually receive a decrease in your support obligation even though your percentage is reduced based on the number of minor children. If you do not make more money, or your support amount has gone up as your salary has increased, then it may be worth looking into a modification of the support order.