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Child Support and the Emancipated Minor

Most parents in Pennsylvania take child support obligations seriously. There are times, however, where unusual circumstances make it difficult to know whether a parent is still obligated to provide support for a child. One of those circumstances is emancipation.

Parents generally have legal authority over and are obligated to provide support for their children until the child reaches the age of 18. However, in some cases a child may become emancipated from parents, thus ending their parental authority and obligations. Emancipation can happen under a number of conditions, including the marriage of the child, entering military service or in situations where the child becomes economically independent.

A parent who is making child support payments is not automatically off the hook once a child undergoes emancipation. Instead, the parent should go to court and ask the judge to end the support order. This can prevent possible negative legal and financial consequences that may result from ending support payments without court permission.

Parents should also be aware that, under certain circumstances, they may still be required to support an emancipated minor. For example, if a minor marries, then later divorces and is in need of financial help, his or her parents may be required to resume their financial obligations.

Further, child support will continue after emancipation in some cases. This may include situations involving an adult child with special needs. Parents who have questions about their obligations may want to meet with a family law attorney so that they may remain in compliance with a court order.

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