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How to determine the end of a child support obligation

Child support can become a parent's obligation either at the time of or after the parent's divorce from his marital partner or at a time after a child is born to an unmarried couple. Under New York law, children are generally entitled to receive financial support from their parents until they reach the age of 21. However, not every child support case ends when a child reaches this age, and this blog post will explore some of the events that may terminate a parent's obligation to pay child support at a different time.

First, there are several actions that children can take to have their child support obligations terminated before they turn 21. For example, a child may enter into his own marital relationship before he turns 21: the marriage of a child receiving support effectively ends his parents' responsibility to financially support him. Additionally, a child's enlistment in the armed services before he turns 21 will also generally excuse his parents from having to continue to make child support payments on his behalf.

Second, a child may achieve emancipation from his parents, and emancipation also usually excuses a parent from having to pay support for the emancipated child. Emancipation may be secured through the courts or a child may constructively emancipate from his parents if he leaves his parents' homes and refuses to obey his parents' directives. Children under the age of 17 cannot constructively emancipate from their parents.

Finally, parents may agree to extend the period of time that they will provide their child with support. This type of decision may be made to provide a child in college with financial support through his graduation, or it may be established to ensure that a child with special needs is fully supported later into his life. To learn more about child support and the events that may terminate its payment, please contact a New York family law attorney to discuss individual cases and factual scenarios.

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