How Long Is Child Support Typically Paid In Indiana?

As experienced custody attorneys at Mattox & Wilson, we understand that navigating child support can be a complex process. We are committed to shedding light on this vital issue that affects countless families in Indiana. We’ll dive into how long child support is typically paid and under what circumstances these obligations may be altered or cease altogether.

If you need assistance with a child support matter, we invite you to call our office to schedule a consultation. We can listen to the facts of your case, explain your legal options, and tenaciously advocate for the best possible outcome.

What Is Emancipation?

In Indiana, child support is primarily governed by the age of the child. Generally, the non-custodial parent’s obligation to pay current child support terminates when the child turns 19 years old. This event, known as ’emancipation by operation of law,’ signifies that the child has reached an age where they are assumed to be self-supporting. However, there are exceptions to this rule.[1]


If the child is incapacitated, child support continues during the period of incapacity or until the court orders otherwise. A child’s incapacitation can cause a court to require child support to extend beyond the child turning 19 years old.

Early Emancipation

Moreover, a child can be emancipated prior to reaching 19 under certain conditions, causing the non-custodial parent’s obligation to cease. These conditions include if the child marries, goes on active duty with the U.S. Military, or is no longer under the care or control of either parent or a court-approved individual or agency.[2]

Termination of Support Obligations

The court may also terminate a non-custodial parent’s support obligation, with or without emancipating a child, if all of the following circumstances exist:

  • The child is at least 18 years old;
  • The child hasn’t attended a secondary or postsecondary educational institution for the previous four months;
  • The adolescent is not enrolled in a secondary school or post-secondary educational institution; and
  • The child is capable of self-support through employment.

It is important to note that these terminations require a petition to be filed with the court. Further, if a non-custodial parent has any outstanding child support payments (arrearages) at the time of termination, they are still obligated to pay these arrearages even after the support order ends.

If One Child Is Emancipated, Will My Child Support Amount Be Reduced?

In situations where multiple children are covered by a child support order, the emancipation of one child does not automatically reduce the support amount. The parties involved must petition the court to modify the order and determine the new amount of support for the remaining children.

Can A Child Support Order Be Modified in Indiana?

Indiana law permits parties to a child support order to request a modification of the amount of child support if a substantial and continuous change of circumstances has occurred. Modifications can also be requested if the previous order is at least 12 months old, and the calculated support amount under the Child Support Guidelines differs by at least 20% from the current order.[3]

As part of our service at Mattox & Wilson, we can guide you through this modification process. We understand how life circumstances can change and influence your ability to pay or your need for child support. We also realize that no one should be financially strained or unable to provide for their child’s well-being due to a dated or unfair support order.

Schedule A Consultation With An Experienced Indiana Custody Lawyer and Child Support Attorney Today!

We strongly encourage anyone navigating the intricacies of child support, custody matters, or modifications in Indiana to seek qualified legal advice. Our team at Mattox & Wilson is well-equipped to handle such matters, thanks to our wealth of experience in this area.

Please do not hesitate to reach out and schedule a consultation with us. We are committed to offering our expertise to help you understand and navigate your child support and custody matters with confidence. Rest assured, we are ready to listen, advise, and zealously advocate for your best interests and those of your children.

[1] General Information, Indiana Department of Child Services,

[2] Id.

[3] Ind. Code § 31-16-8-1.

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