Can you file for post-secondary education expenses after a child's nineteenth birthday in Indiana?
As of July 1, 2012, children are considered emancipated for purposes of child support at age 19, as opposed to age 21. Child support orders issued prior to this statute can be petitioned until the child is 21, but orders issued after the new statute must be filed prior to the child's 19th birthday.
Can you file for post-secondary education expenses after a child's nineteenth birthday in Indiana?In Indiana, you can file up until the child is 21 if (and only if) the child support order was issued prior to the July 1, 2012 change in the statute. Otherwise, (if the order was made July 1, 2012 or later) the request for assistance with post-secondary education expenses must be made prior to the child's 19th birthday.
When can I stop paying child support in Indiana?Effective July 1, 2012, children in Indiana are now considered emancipated for purposes of child support at age 19 as opposed to age 21. This affects Ind. Code 31-16-6-6 (Child support / emancipation / assistance for post secondary education expenses). Absent an exception, 19 (as opposed to former law up until July 1, 2012, the age of emancipation was 21) is the age of emancipation. Certain exceptions exist, such as health issues rendering the child incapacitated. Please note, a child can be legally emancipated earlier, (exceptions set out in Ind. Code 31-16-6-6(3) if they are completely capable of supporting themselves, married, or in active duty in the military.
What happens if an order was made prior to the new law, and there is a modified order after the new law in Indiana?Our Indiana Court of Appeals has determined that you are precluded from pursuing post -secondary education expenses if you file after the child's nineteenth birthday, in this specific instance. Consider Neal v. Austin, _____N.E.3rd____ (2014) 2014 WL 5493439 out of Marion Superior Court 5 (Published Opinion), which considers modifying Post-Secondary Education Orders Issued After the Change in Indiana Code 31-16-6-6. This case holds that Petitions for Post-Secondary Education must be filed by the Child's Nineteenth Birthday. This case considered: (1) as a matter of first impression, whether the trial court had authority under Indiana Code 31-16-6-6 to issue an order for payment of educational support for a child who had reached the age of nineteen, where the parties' original child support order was issued in August of 2000 but the most recent order concerning child support was issued after June 30, 2012; and (2) whether the amount of post-secondary education support ordered by the trial court was an abuse of discretion. An Agreed Entry was entered after July 1, 2012 where the custodial parent agreed to emancipate one of two children born of the marriage. However, the Agreed Entry did not address post-secondary educational expenses. Thereafter, the custodial parent filed a petition to modify to order post-secondary education expenses for the parties' other child. However, the petition was filed after the child had turned 19 years of age. The Appellate Court held that where the most recent order establishing a child support obligation was issued after June 30, 2012, the petition for post-secondary education expenses needs to be filed before the child is 19 years of age. However, Mother was aware of this statutory requirement from Indiana Code 31-16-6-6 because the Agreed Entry referenced the updated statute's effect regarding the legal age of emancipation being 19 years of age. The Appellate Court held that the petition was not timely filed, and the trial court lacked the authority to issue and order for educational expenses.