When a couple in New York State decides to end their marriage and there are children from the relationship, it is likely that one parent will be ordered to pay child support to the other. There can be many contentious issues in a family law and divorce case, and one of the most complex is determining the payments required to provide for a child. The supporting parent might not want to pay the amount ordered, and the custodial parent will frequently ask for more.

There are numerous factors which the court will consider when determining the amount required for child support. Of course, there are other issues to consider as well besides the proscribed amount. Payments will stop once a child  is emancipated. But what is emancipation?  Understanding when this will take place is important for both sides. Obviously, when a child reaches the age of 21, he or she is responsible for their own circumstances and is emancipated. However, there are other times when a child can be under 21 and be emancipated.

Emancipation means that the child does not reside with a parent and supports him or herself. When a child remains financially dependent, he or she will not be considered emancipated. Even if the child was emancipated prior to turning 21, if he or she again becomes dependent on a parent, emancipation is no longer in effect. For a person under 21 to be emancipated, at least one of the following must apply: the individual has gotten married; has joined the military; has completed four years of college; is 18 and is working full-time; or has left the home on a permanent basis and terminated the parent-child relationship without a good reason except in cases where there was abuse.

For parents who are either paying or receiving child support, understanding when their child is considered emancipated will be imperative as to how much is paid and how long the parent is still legally required to make the child support payments. If there are questions or disagreements as to emancipation and child support, calling a law firm that specializes in family law and divorce can help with a case.