Emancipation is relatively rare in Georgia. However, it becomes real for the parents and the minors who experience this firsthand. Whether you are a minor seeking emancipation or a parent, you might be wondering how this will affect child support payments going forward. Does emancipation really eliminate child support payments in the future? Does this process happen automatically? What exactly is emancipation, and how can a child become emancipated? Let’s find out.
What is Emancipation?
Emancipation is the legal process of turning a minor into an adult before they reach the age of majority. In Georgia, the age of majority is 18. After a child becomes emancipated, they have exactly the same rights as adults. Their parents no longer have any control over their lives, and they can do things like sign leases and apply for driver’s licenses on their own.
What Happens to Child Support After Emancipation?
Parents are no longer obligated to provide support payments to emancipated minors. Emancipation means that a child is capable of supporting themselves and living independently, so there is no longer a justification for these payments. Keep in mind that a child can only become emancipated at the age of 16, so at the very most, this will result in just two years of canceled child support payments.
When Can a Child Become Emancipated?
Under Georgia law, children can only become emancipated under certain situations:
- Filing a Petition: A child does not need a specific reason for becoming emancipated. They can file a petition through the family court at the age of 16, although there is no guarantee this petition will be approved.
- Joining the Military: A child is automatically emancipated when they join the military. Note that the military only accepts applicants who are 17 or older, so minors will only be emancipated one year early if they choose this option.
- Marriage: Minors are also automatically emancipated when they get married. However, marriage licenses are only issued to people aged 18 or older in Georgia, so this is something of a moot point. There are rare circumstances in which a 17-year-old might be granted a marriage license.
Can You Stop a Child From Being Emancipated?
If you are receiving child support payments, you may be wondering whether you can stop this legal process so that these payments continue until the child turns 18. Unfortunately, there is no way to stop emancipation – as minors have the right to file petitions on their own. It may also occur automatically under the circumstances mentioned above.
Where Can I Find a Qualified Family Law Attorney in Georgia?
If you are wondering about child support, child custody, emancipation, or any other related topic, get in touch with Lankford & Moore Law. Over the years, we have helped numerous families resolve complex issues. Although Georgia’s laws may seem complex, it is much easier to move forward confidently with the help of a family lawyer. During your initial consultation, we can explain any points of confusion while guiding you toward a positive legal outcome. Reach out today.