You and your husband have been married for 20 years and share two children. One night, after your children–who were fifteen and fourteen years old at the time–had gone to bed, you and your husband sat down at the dinner table to discuss your marriage. Things were not the same as they were twenty years ago, and you both felt it. The time to talk about it had arrived.
After a long, emotional dialogue, you and your husband agree to forgo filing for divorce until both children graduate high school and go on to higher education. You have both heard of the emotional toll the divorce process can take on children and would rather not put your own through that. So, you agree to present in public as an intact family while you quietly separate two lives that have been so entwined for nearly three decades.
Fast forward five years. Your children are now twenty and nineteen years old, are enrolled in full-time college programs and live on campus. You and your husband have agreed now is the right time to pursue an uncontested divorce, as you are 95% in agreement with how to dissolve your marriage. The sole remaining issue is how, if at all, you both are going to provide financially for your adult children post-divorce.
The rule is that parents must support their children up and until each child reaches eighteen years of age. O.C.G.A. § 19-6-15(e) contemplates that a parent’s duty to financially support their minor child “shall continue until the child reaches the age of majority, dies, marries, or becomes emancipated.” O.C.G.A. § 19-6-15(e) further provides that parents may be directed to provide financial assistance to a child who has reached eighteen but has yet to complete high school, but any such assistance shall not continue beyond the child’s twentieth birthday.
While Georgia does not require parents to provide for their adult children post-secondary school or beyond twenty years of age—whichever first occurs—the reality is parents want to and still do support their adult children. And when there is a will, there is a way. Financial support for emancipated children may still be factored into and enforced through a Final Judgment and Decree of Divorce by way of a Settlement Agreement.
The knowledgeable, experienced attorneys here at The Manely Firm, P.C. are available to help you strategize and plan for your as well as your adult children’s future. Call and schedule a strategy session (consult) with us today.