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Brandon M.
Brandon M., Family Law Attorney
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Indiana law says now child support ends at AGE 19, with the

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Indiana law says now child support ends at AGE 19, with the court being petitioned. What are the chances that my exwife gets it pushed past that date and extended until my daughter finishes college? (9/16/13)
My daughter only communicates to me through email, 3 times yearly. She repudiates our personal relationship and does not even speak or meet with me on my birthday, xmas or father's day. How hard is it to be proved like in McKay vs. McKay and Wrenn vs. Wrenn? Is college awarded up to age 21, where my daughter would be first semester junior, or do they stick it to us until they graduate and my daughter would be 22 and 1/2? (Indiana)
Brandon M. :

Hello there.

Brandon M. :

Hi, can you see this?

JACUSTOMER-wrp82s48- :

Indiana law says now child support ends at AGE 19, with the court being petitioned. What are the chances that my exwife gets it pushed past that date and extended until my daughter finishes college? (9/16/13) My daughter only communicates to me through email, 3 times yearly. She repudiates our personal relationship and does not even speak or meet with me on my birthday, xmas or father's day. How hard is it to be proved like in McKay vs. McKay and Wrenn vs. Wrenn? Is college awarded up to age 21, where my daughter would be first semester junior, or do they stick it to us until they graduate and my daughter would be 22 and 1/2? (Indiana)

Brandon M. :

Thank you for your question. Can you see this?

JACUSTOMER-wrp82s48- :

yes

Brandon M. :

Very good. To start, it appears that you have already researched this a bit. have you examined Indiana Code 31-16-6?


JACUSTOMER-wrp82s48- :

not sure, how about a summary? i don't memorize the legal court numbers

Brandon M. :

Sure. It's the statute that codifies termination of child support at age 19 unless certain exceptions apply. http://www.ai.org/legislative/ic/code/title31/ar16/ch6.html#IC31-16-6-6

JACUSTOMER-wrp82s48- :

what would you say those exceptions would be?

Brandon M. :

Basically, if you look at that code section, it does permit support to be ordered past the age of 19 if the child is enrolled in college. It does not specify a cut-off date, so it could hypothetically extend past the age of 19, or even past the age of 21.

Brandon M. :

However, as you rightfully pointed out, the court in Wrenn v. Wrenn determined that an adult child who has repudiated his/her father is not entitled to college support from that father.

JACUSTOMER-wrp82s48- :

is that child support paid to the custodial parent or child support in the form of post secondary college?

Brandon M. :

Child support is paid to the custodial parent unless otherwise ordered by the court.

Brandon M. :

That said, for an adult child receiving support for college, the court typically orders support to be paid directly to the adult child.

Brandon M. :

So a court could certainly order that support is paid until a child is 22 or 23 while still in college, but if the child has refused to have a relationship with that parent, they can expect the court to cut them off at age 19.

Brandon M. :

Does that make sense?

JACUSTOMER-wrp82s48- :

I guess my question is focused on the difference between maintenance for the children (like the child support I've been paying for the past 10 years) which the custodial parent receives and child support in the form of post-secondary educational expenses. It was my understanding that at age 19, the 'traditional' type of support I've been paying to my ex-wife would end, but that I could be ordered to pay post-secondary expenses, which is in itself just another form of child support. If I am ordered to do that, I could end up paying it to my ex-wife or directly to the college. Am I understanding that correctly?

JACUSTOMER-wrp82s48- :

Also, my daughter has refused to have a relationship with me for over three years. No communication in months until she started wanted forms filled out for college. Now it is all business, but nothing personal. She has not consulted me on her college choices, which are all private and on the East Coast--and I can't pay for the Ivy League and out-of-state private school. It'I've read several cases where a parent is not held to paying for college in such circumstances. How often are cases decided that way, in your experience? Also, what information should I be gathering to prove the repudiation?

Brandon M. :

I apologize... there were a lot of questions there. Let's take them one at a time.

Brandon M. :

1. It was my understanding that at age 19, the 'traditional' type of support I've been paying to my ex-wife would end, but that I could be ordered to pay post-secondary expenses, which is in itself just another form of child support. If I am ordered to do that, I could end up paying it to my ex-wife or directly to the college. Am I understanding that correctly?

JACUSTOMER-wrp82s48- :

No problem.

Brandon M. :

A. Functionally, there is little difference. That said, one difference is that the court will typically order the support paid directly to the adult child. The court has the power to order it paid to the other parent, but you would typically expect it paid to the child.

Brandon M. :

2. Also, my daughter has refused to have a relationship with me for over three years. No communication in months until she started wanted forms filled out for college. Now it is all business, but nothing personal. She has not consulted me on her college choices, which are all private and on the East Coast--and I can't pay for the Ivy League and out-of-state private school. It'I've read several cases where a parent is not held to paying for college in such circumstances. How often are cases decided that way, in your experience?

Brandon M. :

A. It depends on the circumstances, and there really isn't such thing as "normal" circumstances. But that said, parental input on college choice generally does not weigh heavily on the obligation. It might be that the court decides that the parent can afford to pay $500 per month for support while in college, and it's up to the child whether that money is spent at a community college or Harvard. But I emphasize that repudiation is significant in determining the parent's continuing obligation to pay.

Brandon M. :

3. Also, what information should I be gathering to prove the repudiation?

Brandon M. :

A. Things are proven in court much like they are proven in life. How would you prove that you went to the grocery store today? You might show a receipt of purchase. You may have a credit card record. Perhaps you ran into someone at the store that recognized you and would remember your being there. Maybe you were issued a traffic citation outside the store's parking lot. You would also have groceries from the store in your home. You know what the truth is, you would just need to show someone else how they can know it too. Naturally, because the nuances of every case are different, this information should not be construed as complete or advice without consulting in person with counsel, but the point is that the court does exercise common sense--if it is demonstrated that there is a child who has no communication whatsoever with her parent except three emails per year, that is repudiation in most circumstances.

Brandon M. :

Does that make sense?

Brandon M. :

I hope that I was able to answer your questions. Was everything clear?

JACUSTOMER-wrp82s48- :

Yes--in my case, it goes beyond just the three emails a year. Those are ones she answers. I email, text, and call several times weekly. She never returns my phone calls--which are all encouraging, congratulating her on good grades, an art award that I found out she won, etc. She has answered some texts, but the responses are hostile, basically telling me to leave her alone. And she did not answer a single email from November 2011 until January 2013, and then it was to get financial info for her college applications. I have documented evidence through phone records, text messages printed out, and email records. Sound like I'm on the right track with evidence?

Sorry, it appeared that we had a technical problem. I was previously unable to see your response. Please allow me just one moment to reply to your last comment. Thank you for your patience.
You wrote: "Yes--in my case, it goes beyond just the three emails a year. Those are ones she answers. I email, text, and call several times weekly. She never returns my phone calls--which are all encouraging, congratulating her on good grades, an art award that I found out she won, etc. She has answered some texts, but the responses are hostile, basically telling me to leave her alone. And she did not answer a single email from November 2011 until January 2013, and then it was to get financial info for her college applications. I have documented evidence through phone records, text messages printed out, and email records. Sound like I'm on the right track with evidence?"

Obviously, I can't weigh the persuasiveness of messages that I have not examined, so please understand that this information is complete and would need to be examined in person by counsel for assured accuracy. But "yes", that sounds like you are on the right track.
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