April is almost over, which means that the month of May and high school graduations are rapidly approaching! This is the time for most parents with a senior in high school to file to modify or terminate a child support obligation.
Arizona law defines the emancipation of a child for child support purposes as generally taking place when the child is both eighteen years of age and has graduated from or is no longer attending high school. This means that most parents of high school seniors will need to modify or terminate child support effective May 31 so that the high school senior is no longer covered by the support order. May 31 is also the appropriate end date for the support obligation if your child is still under the age of eighteen but is graduating from high school in May.
Modification is the appropriate process if there is another minor child common to the relationship that is covered under the support order. Termination of the support order should be requested if the child in question is the only child or the youngest child covered by a Child Support Order.
In the event that child support arrears are owed, and termination of the support order is requested, the Court will terminate the ongoing child support amount but will require payments on the arrears until they are satisfied in full.
It is important to note that the Court does not track when your children are emancipating, and the Court will not take any steps to terminate or modify your support order for you. It is your responsibility to prepare and file the appropriate paperwork in a timely manner to address these issues.