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New Child Support Law: 19+ & Still in Secondary School

On May 5, 2019, Gov. Holcomb signed into law Indiana House Bill 1520, making minor changes to Indiana's laws on child support and emancipation requirements. Currently, when a child turns 19 years of age, they are considered emancipated for the purpose of child support, no matter if they are still in a secondary school*.

Beginning July 1, 2019 and pursuant to IC 31-16-6-6(4)(c), the parent who receives child support and has a child who will still be in secondary school when the child turns 19 years of age, must file a notice advising the Court that the child is a full-time student in a secondary school and provide the notice to the Court and each party by 1) no earlier than the child's 17th birthday and no later than the child's 19th birthday and they must 2) provide proof of the child's enrollment in a secondary school and the child's expected graduation date.

Pursuant to IC 31-16-6-6(4)(d), the parent who pays child support, must 1) file an objection or request for a hearing on the child support issue within 2) thirty (30) days of receiving the Notice filed by the other parent.


Pretty simple, right? Well, Here is the big catcher to this new law! If the payor of child support does not object or request a hearing within 30 days of receiving the other parent's filing of notice, the Court can issue an ex parte order (issue an order without a hearing) that will extend child support until the expected date of graduation.

This new law will not affect parents whose children are currently 19 years of age or will turn 19 years of age before July 1, 2019. Any parent whose child who will not be 19 years of age before July 1, 2019 is entitled to seek an extension of child support, if the child will still be in a secondary school while they are 19 years old.

I personally have mixed feelings on this law as it leaves too much open for attorneys, courts, and clients to broadly interpret. The intent was good, children's birthdays can fall later in the school year or they can be held back due to parents' choice or academic struggles. However, the law does not appear to limit when a child may graduate or address if a GED course is considered a secondary school. Should a parent have to pay child support to a 21 year old who is still in secondary school? Since the law does not address this issue, I see future problems arising before the courts.

*Secondary school is considered either a high school, technical school, vocational school, or college-preparatory courses


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