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Emancipation And The End Of All Support Of A Child At 19?: No! From The Front Lines

Indiana law changed several years ago to terminate a parent’s general duty to pay child support at 19. However, this law left in place language that allowed a trial court to have the discretion to award higher education expenses.1 Courts frequently award such colleges expenses.

This has been subject to great debate among Hoosiers as many states end all support at or around 19. The reason age 19 is part of many statutes is because a senior in high school may turn 19 during his or her senior year.

In Indiana, SB 109 was introduced in the most recent session of the General Assembly to end all duty to support a child at 19, including the trial court’s discretion to award higher education expenses. However, this bill died on the third roll call with 17 yeas and 31 nays.

Thus, in Indiana a trial court still has the discretion to award college expenses as a component of “child support.” There is wide variance in how this is applied by Indiana’s trial court judges. If this is an issue you face, you should consider retaining an attorney to maximize or minimize or eliminate college expense requests.

This blog post is written by attorneys at Ciyou & Dixon, P.C. and is for general educational purposes only. It is not legal advice, or solicitation for legal services. Ciyou & Dixon, P.C. attorneys handle civil and criminal appeals from all Indiana state trial courts, Seventh Circuit Court of Appeals, or United States Supreme Court.


  1. Ind.Code 31-16-6-2.
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