Across the United States the age at which children are legally recognized as an adult is when they turn 18 years of age. Upon reaching majority status these young adults are subject to the rights and responsibilities of adults, including parenthood and providing financial support for their children.
But, some parents are under the age of 18, which means they are a special class of people and when they are parties in a child support case they must be treated differently due to their status as a minor, or person under the age of 18.
When a minor parent visits a child support office, is in a settlement conference, or has a court hearing, CSS requests that an adult guardian or next friend of the minor parent accompany them. But, sometimes minor parents are not accompanied by an adult. In this situation Child Support Specialists consult with the CSS state’s attorney about how to proceed.
When the minor parent is under 16 years of age, CSS requests the case be transferred to district court and requests the court appoint an attorney for the child.
However, when the minor parent is between 16 and 18 years of age, CSS requests the court to enter an order without the presence of an adult after evidentiary hearing about the minor parent’s capacity to understand the consequences of the court proceedings.
Taking these precautions will ensure the minor child has either an adult accompanying them, or that they understand what will happen after the court proceedings.
Make sure to speak with your state’s attorney to verify the best course of action.
If you have any questions about Paternity and Establishment, Enforcement, or Finance please contact the CSS Programs Field Representatives.
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