A custodial parent in Maryland typically receives child support from their former spouse until any shared children reach the age majority at 18 or graduate high school. For various reasons, however, some children may become financially self-supporting prior to reaching that threshold. When a child petitions a court for emancipation, he or she must make the case that they no longer want their parents’ continued financial contributions. An emancipated minor thereby eliminates the child support obligation of a non-custodial parent.
Emancipation prior to the age of 18 can occur whenever a child marries, joins the military, achieves economic independence, or abandons the parental home. The latter situation presents the closest call for a non-custodial parent. When a former spouse continues to collect child support payments but is no longer incurring any child-related expenses, a non-custodial parent may make the case to a court that their obligations should cease. Similarly, in limited circumstances courts have ruled that when a child refuses all verbal and physical contact with a non-custodial parent, child support can be terminated. Unless the child actively seeks emancipation, the child support order will likely remain in effect until the child’s 18th birthday.
When a non-custodial parent supports multiple children, the emancipation of one child does not eliminate the need to make continued child support payments. As long as at least one sibling has not reached the age of majority, child support payments continue. A non-custodial parent in such a situation can petition a court for modification of the child support order.
Occasionally the age of majority does not signal an end of child support payments. Children who are disabled or who have special needs may be unable to achieve financial independence, thereby requiring continued financial support beyond their 18th birthday. College-bound children of divorce in Maryland may also receive child support after their 18th birthday with agreement from both parents.
Towson Divorce Lawyers at Huesman, Jones & Miles, LLC Advise on All Aspects of Child Support
Towson divorce lawyers at Huesman, Jones & Miles LLC will work diligently to draft a child support agreement that benefits our clients and their children. We provide legal representation throughout Baltimore County, Harford County, Carroll County, and Howard County, including Towson, Essex, Columbia, and Bel Air. Call us today to schedule your free confidential consultation. We can be reached at 443-589-0150, or complete our online questionnaire.