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When may child support in Rhode Island last beyond emancipation?


When a child support order is established in Rhode Island, it will generally remain in place until 90 days after the child graduates high school at age 18, and in no case after the child reaches age 19. However, there is an exception to this rule. Per Rhode Island law, the court may permit a child support order to continue past the age of emancipation if the child has an impairment, either mentally or physically, that is deemed severe, and the child still resides with a parent.


There are several factors the court will take into consideration when deciding whether this exception applies. First of all, the court will take into consideration the nature of the child's impairment and the extent to which it affects the child's life. The court will also consider any extraordinary financial costs involved with regards to the child's medical care. Whether the child is able to work to support himself or herself financially will also be taken into account, as will any other financial resources the child may have. In addition, each parent's income will also be a factor the court may consider in such situations. Moreover, if the parent taking care of the child is unable to work full-time due to the needs of the child, this may also be taken into consideration by the court.

In order for child support to be extended beyond the child's emancipation, the impairment must have begun before the child reaches emancipation. The court also retains the right to re-examine the case in the future to determine whether it is appropriate for the child support order to continue.

Taking care of a child with a disability is a huge responsibility, and with this responsibility comes significant financial obligations. Custodial parents in these situations may find that they are dependent on child support even after the child is 18-years-old. For these reasons, courts in Rhode Island may consider whether an extension of child support past the age of emancipation is warranted in such situations.

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