Can Child Support Be Extended Past The Age Of Emancipation?

Ask a Lawyer


My ex-wife pays child support for our daughter who lives with me full time.

Is there any legal precedent to have child support extended past when my daughter turns 18 and graduates high school so long as she continues living with me and is my dependent?

Rhode Island divorce attorney Diana Sladen


The laws surrounding child support vary from state to state on this issue, and much will depend on the circumstances unique to your case.

For example, in Rhode Island, child support is terminated at the age of 19 unless the child has significant special needs.

However, in Massachusetts, child support terminates can terminate at age 18 (if child is independent, working full-time, enrolls in military, moves out), age 21 (if child is independent, working full-time, enrolls in military, moves out) or age 23 (child is covered until 23 if in college/university full-time).

Arguments can always be made to a judge to continue a child support order if your state allows it. Does your daughter have any special needs? Will your daughter be in school full-time?

Depending on what your state allows for child support, you may have some wiggle room to extend child support past the age of 18, but perhaps not.

Consider meeting with a local family law attorney familiar with your state’s laws regarding child support to determine whether it is possible to continue child support past the age of 18.

Remember, I am unable to provide you with anything more than tips on your situation, so please consult a domestic litigation attorney in your area to obtain specific advice as to the laws in your state and how they impact your potential case.

To arrange an initial consultation to discuss divorce rights for men with a Cordell & Cordell attorney, contact Cordell & Cordell.

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