Emancipation and the Child that Cannot Find a Job

Your child has just graduated from college; such a proud moment. Everything you have struggled through in your divorce seems like a distant memory as you watch your child walk to receive their degree. Life is good, no, life is excellent!

A month later you receive your support and discover that your child support has been reduced because you child is now emancipated. Children do not magically become self supporting the instant they received their degree and you are still providing a roof over their head, food and other basics, all of which cost money.

If your child is like most other newly minted grads, jobs are hard to come by and it can take a while to find a job which will allow them to be self supporting. Hiring a career consultant to speed them along this path is a really great idea to help them get their resume in shape and ace the interviews.

Hopefully the paying spouse will be cognizant that their child is not off your cost base and will be reasonable but if the child support has been cut the best thing to do is to go to mediation and try to work out a reasonable compromise.

What are your actual out of pocket expenses for your grad? A few of the usual expenses are the cell phone, car insurance, clothing expenses, gas and food. Get your bills together and see what the real costs are; is the amount less than the child support that was reduced? Can you afford to pay these without undue hardship? If the costs are high and your child has a part time job it may be time for  them to take some responsibility for these expenses, so that they have an appreciation for what things cost and so that they get used to paying their own expenses.

If the costs are high it may be worthwhile to try to negotiate a sharing of these expenses. Perhaps your X can pick up the cell phone or car insurance and you carry the rest of the costs? Sharing the costs on the basis of you current incomes is also a reasonable approach. Perhaps asking for a specific period of time for support to continue would be doable or agreeing that as soon as the child is working full time support ends.

Just keep in mind that that you need to weigh the cost/benefit of this exercise. If your X will not co-operate and mediation is not a success then it may cost you more in legal fees than what you might receive. If that is the case take a deep breath and think that this too will pass.

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