The age of emancipation in the state of Colorado is 19 years. That is when child support ends and obligations are extinguished. The obligor doesn’t even have to file a motion to have the child support obligation ended once the child attains 19 years of age.
That said, there are circumstances that may necessitate shortening or lengthening of this period in Colorado. Modifications to child support may also be made if there are noteworthy changes in circumstances. For instance if the child is still in high school by the time they are 19, the obligor will be required to continue making payments until the child’s 21st birthday or when they graduate, whichever comes first.
You may also be obliged to continue paying child support past the child’s 19th birthday if they are mentally or physically challenged and unable to care for themselves. A child may also be entitled to support if they drop out of school without graduate then reenroll before they reach 21 years of age. Attorney Douglas Thomas can help give you a clearer insight into emancipation and what the changing circumstances in your child’s life mean.
In some instances, child support termination may happen before the child turns 19 or finishes high school. These include when both parents submit a written agreement showing that the child is emancipated. Early emancipation may also occur when the child joins the military or when they become financially independent of their parents.
A child may also be automatically emancipated if they are above 16 years and get in a marriage. Child support can however be reinstated if the marriage is dissolved, declared invalid, or annulled before the child emancipates or turns 19.
Child support termination when more than one child is involved
You could be forgiven to think that child support responsibilities are separate for each of your children living with your ex-partner. Well, Colorado laws are a bit absurd when this is the case. If a child turns 19 or finishes high school or a similar program before turning 21 and they have younger siblings who are all dependent on that one child support order, you may be obliged to continue making the same amount of payments unless you file a motion.
If a motion is not filed, termination will only occur when the youngest of the siblings turns 19 or otherwise emancipates. Motions filed in this should point out the change of circumstance and ask for a cutback on child support due to a reduction in the number of children requiring monetary support. Note that there is no backdating of excessive payments made. Modifications take effect the month after the motion is approved.
If the obligor dies
The notion that child support automatically terminates with the death of the paying parent is wrong and misleading. Child support duties survive death in virtually all states in the country. Should a parent die before emancipation of the child, the deceased’s estate will likely cover the responsibilities. Standing obligations where the paying parent has died are in most cases in Denver paid for by taking out the life insurance of the deceased.