Our clients often ask a lot of questions about child support. One of the most common questions is – “when does child support end?” Does child support automatically terminate when one child emancipates?

Definition of a “Child”

A “child” is defined as “an individual under 18 years of age, an individual under age 20 who is still attending secondary school, or an individual who, by reason of physical or mental condition, is incapable of self-support.” Minn. Stat. §518A.26, Subd. 5.

As a result of this definition, the following are true:

  • A child who is considered incapable of self-support by reason of physical or mental condition may be entitled to child support indefinitely.
  • A child who is not considered incapable of self-support by reason of physical or mental condition is typically emancipated for purposes of terminating child support when they turn 18 or graduate from high school, whichever occurs later (up to the age of 20 if still attending high school).

Child Support for More than One Child

When child support is paid for more than one child, child support does not automatically decrease when one of the children emancipates. Rather, a motion must be pursued to modify child support based on that child’s emancipation, in which child support will then be recalculated. The court may only modify child support back to the date in which a motion is filed, so it is important to timely pursue this motion! When only one child remains, child support will automatically terminate upon emancipation.

There are a lot of intricacies when it comes to child support in Minnesota. Make sure you have skilled family attorneys by your side to advise you and defend your rights throughout the process.