Has Your Senior Graduated?

By Brenda L. Storey, Esq.

Despite the crazy times created by the Coronavirus, my son has now officially graduated from high school.   I am so thankful he was able to enjoy a bit of normalcy offered from a true graduation ceremony.   Here is hoping that college in the fall is on and classes are live on campus.

His graduation made me think of a pressing question in post-decree cases:   Does child support continue?

Colorado has two ages that are relevant to children.   Age 18 is the age of emancipation as relates to parental responsibilities, but age 19 is the age of emancipation for child support.   Yet, as is common, the law has a few clarifiers.

If the child is still in high school when turning 19, child support continues until the end of the month following graduation.   For kids who drop out of high school before graduating, but re-enroll, child support resumes upon re-enrollment and continues until the month following graduation or the age of 21, whichever is first.

If the child marries or enters into active military duty, the child is considered emancipated.

If the child is mentally or physically disabled, child support may continue past age 19.

The parties can also agree otherwise, but only to extend child support, not terminate it before the age of 19.

So, you may ask, who gets the child support when the child who is under 19 is off to college.   The same parent who has received support before the child goes to college receives it until age 19.  Another common question is who has to pay for a child’s secondary education.  No one.   A parent can always offer, or the parties can agree in a formal agreement approved by the Court, but there is no law requiring a parent to pay for a child’s college education.

With those answers, I do wish all 2020 senior a bright future!