Child Support Emancipation/Termination
What is emancipation?
Emancipation is the process that legally stops current child support payments because the child is no longer a minor. Unless otherwise stated in an original order, current law generally provides that if a child reaches the age of 18 and is graduated or is 18 and not attending an accredited school on a full time-basis or if a child reaches the age of 19 regardless of enrollment, the child is considered emancipated for purposes of child support. Current support payments stop when your child has emancipated.
When should my child support order terminate?
There are many reasons why a child support order should be terminated, including:
- Emancipation of the child
- Marriage of the child
- Deportation of the child
- Child’s enlistment in the armed services and not attending high school on a full time basis
- Death of the child or obligor
- Adoption of the child
- A change in the legal custody of the child, including when permanent custody is awarded to a public children services agency or a court order terminates the obligor’s parental rights.
Reasons for termination other than those listed above cannot be accomplished through the Administrative Termination Process and must be pursued privately through the courts.
What if my child is being home-schooled or attends an alternative education program?
Most home schooling programs and alternative education programs are approved by the State of Ohio, meaning they are recognized and accredited. Upon notification that a child is receiving this type of schooling, the CSEA will require proof that the program is state-approved.
The CSEA will consider all information from both parties when determining whether support should continue or terminate.
In what situation might my child support continue past the age of majority (18 years old)?
There are reasons why support may continue past the age of eighteen other than the fact the child has not yet graduated but is still attending a recognized and accredited school or program. If a child is deemed disabled (mentally or physically) by a court, support can be awarded so long as the child remains disabled despite their age. Child support may also continue past emancipation, such as during college, if this agreement is incorporated into a court order.
What is the emancipation/termination process?
When the Child Support Specialist receives the required documentation they will review the case to determine that all monies due have been paid in full. Each party will be sent the ‘Findings and Recommendations’ which will indicate the results of the Child Support Specialist’s review. Each party will then have thirty-three (33) days to object to the Child Support Specialist’s results and request an Administrative Hearing at the agency.
The law allows for the CSEA to request a hold (Order to Impound) on any monies being paid for the child being emancipated if it appears the case is paid in full. This includes processing fees.
Any monies impounded (on hold) can ONLY be released after the final termination order is received. Please be advised that although the child support obligation of the child being emancipated may be reduced or terminated, the original support amount must continue to be paid until the arrears are paid in full.
How does the Child Support Enforcement Agency (CSEA) know when to terminate support for my child?
It is the responsibility of both parents to notify the CSEA of any reason for which support should terminate. This includes notifying the agency when your child is expected to emancipate.
Although it is preferred that notice be given to the agency in writing, either parent may contact the agency by phone or in person to report this information. The agency will complete an investigation within 20 calendar days of receiving notice to verify this information.
If the CSEA has not received notification from either parent that support should terminate, the agency will complete an investigation near the child’s 18th birthday to determine if support should continue or terminate based on the child’s high school attendance.
How will I know that the CSEA is proposing to terminate support for my child?
Once the CSEA has completed an investigation, the Findings and Recommendations to Terminate Support will be sent to both parties.
If the agency is recommending Termination of Support, the notice will include:
- The reason for termination
- If there are arrears and how much should be paid toward the arrearage
- Whether there is still a child support order in existence for remaining “unemanciapted” children
- If there is an overpayment in support made to the Obligee.
The Findings and Recommendations to terminate Support, will explain the Administrative and Court Hearing rights and how to request a hearing if you are not in agreement with the decision made by the hearing officer.
I am court-ordered to carry medical insurance on my child. Does my obligation to carry insurance end when my child emancipates?
Yes, if child support terminates due to emancipation, your legal obligation to carry medical insurance also terminates unless otherwise stated in your court order. If a National Medical Support Notice was issued to your employer requiring them to enroll your child pursuant to a court order, then the agency must issue a notice to your employer advising them that your court-ordered obligation has ended and that they should consult you for instruction on whether insurance should stop or continue.
Either party may file a Motion to Emancipate or Terminate on their own in the court that issued their original order.