Focused on your future: A marriage may end, but the family goes on

Indiana parents must now petition court before child turns 19 to ensure that ex-spouse pays college costs


In Indiana, the obligation of divorced parents to pay child support ends when a child turns 19. But their obligation to pay a child’s educational expenses does not end.

In 2012, the Indiana state legislature reduced the presumptive age for terminating child support for non-custodial parents from 21 to 19. This brings Indiana more in line with the rest of the nation concerning emancipation for the purpose of paying child support.

To ensure a child’s educational expenses are paid, a parent must petition the Court for educational expenses before the child’s 19th birthday. Or both parents must have addressed these educational expenses in writing before the child turns 19, which is the age of emancipation for support purposes in Indiana.

This recent child support emancipation law is unclear as to what happens to a child who is turning 19 and still attending high school or getting a GED. Individual cases have been determined that such a child may continue to receive support under the term “educational expenses,” but usually a petition must be filed with the Court.

Plan for your child’s educational expenses by filing for a modification with the Court or, if an agreement can be reached between the parents, file the agreed entry with the Court before the child’s 19th birthday.

Mary Foley Panszi and Daun A. Weliever, trained and experienced in collaborative law, can guide you smoothly through this difficult life transition.

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