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How long does an obligation to pay child support last?

On Behalf of | Dec 13, 2023 | Family Law |

Many Minnesota residents are parents who are divorced. One of the major concerns for them after their split is child support; while one parent receives payments on behalf of their children, the other must pay. No matter which side of this support you’re on, it’s crucial to know how long the obligation lasts.

Understanding child support

Child support is meant to go toward the financial care of a child after a divorce or a breakup between unmarried parents. It’s intended to provide basic support for the child to ensure they have food, clothing and housing. Child support also pays for a child’s education, medical care by providing health and dental insurance and extracurricular activities. Both parents are required to support the child; one provides day-to-day support while the other is ordered to pay to supplement what the custodial parent pays. Usually, the parent who earns more money pays child support to the other.

How long child support obligations last

Under applicable Minnesota family law, a child support order is meant to last throughout the child’s upbringing until they reach age 18 and become emancipated and legally considered an adult. However, there are exceptions where the obligation to pay child support extends; one is when the child is still attending school. The obligation ends before they turn 20. The other is if the child has a physical or mental impairment and is unable to earn their own support as an adult.

Another exception to the child support payment obligation is if a child becomes legally emancipated before reaching their 18th birthday. Although this doesn’t commonly happen, parents may allow emancipation if the child is working full-time or has their permission to get married. Another scenario is if the child is suddenly estranged from their parents; for example, a disownment situation.

In some cases, these matters may be complex. Making sure you know what to expect from your obligation is crucial in ensuring that your child receives the support they need.