Child Support for Children in College

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Missouri child support laws allow benefits to continue past the age of 18, up to the age of 21, if the child is enrolled in an institution of higher education by the October following graduation from high school.  Generally, any community college, college, or university will qualify as an eligible institution as long as the child attends classes regularly and meets the requirements for continuation of support.

Requirements for Continuation of Support

Completion of at least 12 credit hours per semester

To be eligible to receive support payments, the child must enroll for and complete at least 12 hours of credit each semester, not including the summer session.  If half or more of the classes are failed in any one semester, child support may be terminated and ineligible for reinstatement.

Sufficient grades

The child must achieve grades sufficient to reenroll at the college.

Course information must be provided to parents

At the beginning of each semester, the child must submit to each parent a transcript or similar official document which lists the courses enrolled in and completed for each term, the grade and credit received for each course, and an official document from the school listing the courses the child is enrolled in for the upcoming term including the number of credits for each course.  If the noncustodial parent requests notification of the child’s grades, the child must produce the required documentation within 30 days of receipt of grades from the school.

Completion of at least 9 credit hours per semester if employed full-time

A child who is employed at least 15 hours per week during the semester may take as few as 9 credit hours per semester and remain eligible for child support as long as the other requirements are met.

Children with Disabilities

A child who has been diagnosed with a developmental disability, or whose physical disability or diagnosed health problems limits the child’s ability to carry at least 12 credit hours per semester, remains eligible for support as long as the remaining requirements are met.

Payment of Child Support Directly to Child

The child or the parent obligated to pay support may petition the court to amend the order to direct the obligated parent to make the payments directly to the child.  Courts look at the specific circumstances of each case before they make a determination of whether or not payments can be made directly to the child.  Some factors that may affect the Court’s decision include whether the child is capable to handle his or her own money, if he or she has handled money in the past, and whether the child lives with the custodial parent for all or a portion of the time he or she is enrolled in school.

The Law Offices of Kathleen E. Shaul represents mothers and fathers, as well as children, in actions for child support of adult children while attending school.  If you have attempted and failed to settle child support issues on your own, schedule a confidential consultation to discuss your case with an experienced family law attorney.

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