Many divorced parents who do not have custody of their children believe their obligations to pay child support ends at 18. But this may or may not be the case, depending on the language of your divorce decree and your child’s aspirations for a post-secondary education (be it college, trade school, associate’s school or otherwise).
There are circumstances in which child support can be extended into the early years of adulthood if that child pursues further schooling. This may referred o as post-secondary educational support, or post-minority support.
You should make sure you are aware of any potential obligations you have after your children’s 18th birthdays so you can plan ahead with your finances.
What Minnesota law says
Every state treats post-secondary educational support responsibilities differently.
Under Minnesota law, child support obligations automatically terminate upon the child becoming emancipated, unless a court order determines otherwise. For these purposes, a child is considered “any individual under age 20 who is still attending secondary school.”
The court may decide to extend child support payments after emancipation if it finds a clear inability of a child to be self-supporting. This must be due to more than just attending school, and proof that the child is still in high school is insufficient evidence.
Examples for inability to be self-supporting might include mental or physical disability.
Therefore, in most cases Minnesota parents will not have to worry about being responsible for supporting a child’s post-secondary education.
For more information about how assets and debts are split after divorce and the responsibility parents have to support their children, contact an experienced Minnesota family lawyer at Appelhof, Pfeifer & Hart, P.A.
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