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When Will Your Child Support Obligations End?

Parents are legally obligated to financially support their minor child, with very limited exceptions. Most parents assume that once the child turns 18, their support obligations will end. In truth, a parent’s support obligations may continue past age 18, or end earlier. Here’s what to expect.

Minnesota child support laws

In Minnesota, the age of majority is 18—but where child support is concerned, “child” means a person under 18, a person under 20 attending secondary school or a person who, due to physical or mental conditions, cannot support themselves. Parents may also agree to put a designated sum (beyond their child support obligations) in a trust fund for postsecondary education.

When does child support terminate early?

Child support obligations may end early in a few limited circumstances. First, if the paying parent dies, their support obligations end. However, the child may inherit some or all of their assets. Child support obligations also end if the child dies.

In some cases, the court may pass down an order terminating support. Finally, if your child emancipates themselves (whether through enlisting in the military, marriage or via court order), your child support obligations will end.

Agreeing to continue child support

In addition to Minnesota’s laws regarding continued child support, parents can voluntarily agree to keep paying even after the child reaches the age of majority. For example, if your child plans to attend a four-year university while living at home, the paying parent may agree to keep paying support to defray their cost of living.

It doesn’t matter what the reasoning is, as long as both parents agree—but you should include it in your custody and support arrangements, so that you have legal recourse if the other parent backs out of the deal.

Find out more about child support obligations and arrangements by calling the experienced family law attorneys at Appelhof, Pfeifer & Hart, P.A. in St. Paul, MN.

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