As of July 1, 2012, a new statute regarding emancipation of children for child support matters went into effect. Previous blog posts have examined the intricacies of the new law, and some cases after its inception.
However, recently, the Committee that helped enact the new law is taking a second look at it. The Child Support and Custody Advisory Committee met Tuesday, October 2, 2012 to discuss the recently passed and enacted law1.
The main concern seems to be that children, under the new law, may miss out on educational assistance from one or both parents by failure to request same under the new law. According to the new statute, children, before they reach age nineteen years old, the new age of emancipation, must file with the trial court to request college expenses.
There are several potential difficulties with this process. First, children are not parties to divorce or custody matters. Therefore, it may be difficult for children to petition under the legal actions that previously determined custody and support.
Will children need to create new cases with separate cause numbers to petition for education expenses? Will they need to intervene in their parents’ previous cases? These questions are unanswered, and are complex.
Further, if children need to petition before they are nineteen (19), how do they do so? Do children hire an attorney for themselves? Who pays for the attorney?
These are all questions that have arisen since the effective date of the new emancipation law. The main concern seems to be that children/young adults will not have their college expenses contributed to by parents if they are unable to navigate the complex legal system. And do it before they reach the age of nineteen.
With new laws come improvements and refinements to meet the need of our society, but also and new questions and sometimes unintended consequences. In the upcoming weeks and months, discussions on college expenses will be a hot topic. Knowing the law and the questions that go along with it can help prepare parents and children to move forward under the new law, and seek attorney assistance where necessary.
We hope that this blog post has been helpful in updating the status of the new emancipation law and exploring some potential complexities and questions regarding the same. Ciyou & Dixon, P.C. practices throughout the state of Indiana. This blog post was written by attorney, Jessica Keyes.