Emancipation generally refers to the point at which a child is viewed as an adult in the eyes of the law. With respect to child support, it refers to the point in time when a parent is no longer required to pay child support. While a child may be considered an adult once they turn 18, Kansas law may require child support to be paid after a child turns 18. K.S.A. 23-3001(b) states:
"Regardless of the type of custodial arrangement ordered by the court, the court may order the child support and education expenses to be paid by either or both parents for any child less than 18 years of age, at which age the support shall terminate unless:
(2) the child reaches 18 years of age before completing the child's high school education in which case the support shall not terminate automatically, unless otherwise ordered by the court, until June 30 of the school year during which the child became 18 years of age if the child is still attending high school; or
(3) the child is still a bona fide high school student after June 30 of the school year during which the child became 18 years of age, in which case the court, on motion, may order support to continue through the school year during which the child becomes 19 years of age so long as the child is a bona fide high school student and the parents jointly participated or knowingly acquiesced in the decision which delayed the child's completion of high school. The court, in extending support pursuant to subsection (b)(3), may impose such conditions as are appropriate and shall set the child support utilizing the guideline table category for 12-year through 18-year-old children. For purposes of this section, “bona fide high school student” means a student who is enrolled in full accordance with the policy of the accredited high school in which the student is pursuing a high school diploma or a graduate equivalency diploma (GED)."
If you have more than once child, the emancipation of one child will affect the amount of child support you pay for your remaining minor children. The Kansas Child Support Guidelines states:
"V.B.4. Termination of Child Support Obligation
Support orders for One Child. In child support orders for one child, child support stops pursuant to court order or pursuant to K.S.A. 23-3001, et seq. and amendments thereto.
Support Orders for Two or More Children. In child support orders, support amounts for two or more children, are stated as a total amount rather than on a per child basis. Absent judicial modification of the order, as each child emancipates as defined in K.S.A. 23-3001, et seq. and amendments thereto, or by court order, the total obligation will decrease proportionately based on the number of minor children at the time of the termination or emancipation. Parents may seek to modify child support orders and income withholding orders when the legal obligation to pay child support terminates for any child or any child is emancipated."
As your child reaches the age of emancipation, our office will provide the custodial parent with a form to fill out indicating when the child will graduate from high school. Here is a copy of the Child Status Form.