All states require parents to support their minor children before, during and after marriage. Typically, the duty of support falls to both parents. While the duty between the parents is equal, often the amounts paid are not, because child support is generally proportional to incomes.
As well, when the child reaches the age of majority, child support obligations change.
What happens when the child reaches the age of majority?
When an individual turns 21 in Mississippi, he or she is no longer a minor. As a legal adult, he or she will not receive any more child support. The duty to support may terminate, but if an additional court-ordered obligation exists, then that will still continue.
Child support terminates at a pre-majority age if the child becomes emancipated by getting married or joining the armed forces.
What are exceptions to child support ending?
There are two basic exceptions to the rule that child support ends at the child’s majority: disabled adult children and post-secondary education. Support will continue for disabled children who become disabled before they reach the age of majority. If an adult child is physically or mentally disabled and is unable to financially support him or herself, then a court can require his or her parents to support him or her.
Some states, including Mississippi, have statutes allowing for college support beyond the age of majority. If both parties voluntarily agree, a court can order support for the child’s college expenses up to 21 years of age. College support comes in several forms: part of child support, in addition to child support or a separate court order after the original support order ends.
Before a court orders post-majority college support, it considers several factors, such as the parents’ ability to pay, the child’s aptitude and the parents’ own level of education. Parents are also at liberty to include post-secondary education expenses in the child support agreement. This agreement may extend past undergraduate education and also cover graduate school costs.