Courts will generally uphold agreements between parents to continue supporting their children after adulthood to help them finance college. Without an agreement, courts require parents to continue financially supporting their children until reaching the legal age of emancipation. In Iowa, the legal age of emancipation is 18. However, parents in Iowa may be legally responsible for supporting their children beyond age 18 in certain circumstances.
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Legal Steps to Terminating Orders
In Iowa, the legal age of adulthood is 18. Parents may request a termination of child support when a child turns 18. However, if the child is still in high school, then parents must continue supporting that child until the child turns 19. Simply because child support obligations may end at adulthood, a parent's obligation to pay child support may continue until a parent files a legal petition to terminate the Child Support Order. To terminate child support in Iowa, the noncustodial parent must submit a "Motion to Terminate the Income Withholding Order." The noncustodial parent will receive a hearing date from the Iowa court and must personally serve the motion on the custodial parent through a process server or sheriff.
Legal Age of Emancipation
A parent's requirement to support their minor children can end before the child reaches the age of legal emancipation or adulthood. If minor children obtain a legal emancipation order or marry before age 18, then the parent's support obligation ends, absent entenuating circumstances. The noncustodial parent must file the Motion to Terminate the Child Support Order to end the Income Withholding Order.
Ending Support Through Disestablishment of Paternity
In Iowa, as in many other jurisdictions, a child born during wedlock is presumed to be the child of the father. For couples who were not married, one parent must establish the child support obligation through a paternity affidavit and court order awarding child support. District courts may disestablish paternity through a legal finding that the father and child are not biologically related. Once a court makes that determination, the future obligation to provide support terminates after a court awards a disestablishment of paternity order. A court's order for disestablishment of paternity automatically terminates the father from future child support obligations, but he must satisfy all support delinquencies that arose before the order.
Requesting Termination Through Modification
Iowa courts use parental income shares to determine the noncustodial parent's child support obligation. Iowa courts allow noncustodial parents to requrest a modification or deviation from the presumptive guidelines if the noncustodial parent's income is less than the state's poverty guidelines. The noncustodial parent must petition the court for a low-income adjustment and termination of child support if the noncustodial parent's only income is derived from government benefits.
Since family laws can frequently change, you should not use this information as a substitute for legal advice. Seek advice through an attorney licensed to practice law in your jurisdiction.