Indiana law changed on July 1, 2012, to reflect the duty to support a child concludes when the child becomes nineteen (19) years of age unless one of the following conditions occurs: the child is emancipated before becoming nineteen; the child is incapacitated, or the child is at least 18 years of age, has not attended secondary school or post-secondary educational institute for the prior four (4) months, is not enrolled in a secondary school or postsecondary educational institution, and is or is capable of supporting himself or herself through employment. The prior Indiana law placed a duty on parents to support a child until twenty-one years of age.
The change in law has also resulted in modification of the time frame when a child (or his/her parents) may file a petition with the court requesting educational expenses. If a child is receiving child support under an order issued by the court before July 1, 2012, the child (or his/her parents) has until the child is twenty-one years of age to petition the court for educational expenses. If a child is receiving child support under an order issued by the court after June 30, 2012, the child (or his/her parents) has until the child is nineteen years of age to petition the court for educational expenses. Based on the language of the new statute, there are currently different viewpoints among legal professionals as to the application of this statute to children of married/divorced parents and children of non-married parents. The attorneys at M&A strongly encourage you to meet with an attorney to see how these changes in law impact your individual situation.
As there are nuances under the law regarding emancipation, a parent should never assume that a child has been emancipated and should seek the advice of counsel before terminating child support payments. I can provide you with the necessary steps in determining whether your child should be emancipated and, by extension, any corresponding child support obligation that should be terminated, or, defend against emancipation if your child meets certain criteria and is in need of continuing support.