Learn if You have to Continue Paying Child Support for a School Drop-Out
I recently fielded a question from a client regarding whether or not the client could stop paying child support for a child who was 19 years old and had just dropped out of college. In New York State, your responsibility to pay child support extends until your child is 21 years of age. There are exceptions to this regulation, however; the court will sometimes declare the child emancipated, but those exceptions usually involve more than simply not attending college. Emancipation generally happens when a child of employable age—that is, over the age of 18—is working full-time and is self-supporting or living permanently outside of the custodial parent’s home. Unless the child is living outside of the home for specific things like study abroad, an internship, or summer employment, emancipation applies if the child is married or living as a self-sufficient adult.
The fact that a child is 19 years of age and not in college is probably not a solid basis for the cessation of child support. Nevertheless, there are some circumstances in which cessation of child support can happen. For example, if you are paying support pursuant to an agreement, and that agreement contemplates a different definition of what amounts to emancipation—such as child support would terminate at age 18 if the child were not in college—the scenario described above would be a basis to stop paying child support. Currently, however, those provisions are not particularly common.