The law that mandates when the obligation to pay child support ends has been changed. Before this change, the Indiana Code simply provided that the duty to support a child (apart from college expenses) ends when a child turns 19, except in three exceptional circumstances. Those circumstances are (1) that the child is emancipated before turning 19; (2) that the child is incapacitated; or (3) that the child is at least 18, has not been attending school and is not enrolled in school, and can support him/herself through employment.
Effective July 1, 2019 this law now provides a way for child support to continue past a child’s 19th birthday as long as the parent receiving support acts in time. If the child is a full time student in secondary school, the payee parent must now file a notice in court stating that the child continues to be enrolled in secondary school. This notice must include proof of the child’s enrollment in a secondary school and the child’s expected graduation date. More importantly, this notice must be filed after the child turns 17 and before the child turns 19. If the parent receiving support fails to file this notice properly, child support will stop.
The parent paying child support will have an opportunity to object to the extension. However, this parent has just 30 days to file an objection or request for hearing. If no objection or request for hearing is filed within the time limit, a court may order that child support be paid through the child’s expected graduation date without holding a hearing.
Any parents receiving child support for children who will turn 19 this year and will still be enrolled in secondary school should file this notice immediately, before the child’s 19th birthday. Do not delay!