White v. White (Mississippi 2023)

No. 2021-CA-01074-COA (Miss Ct. App. 2023)
February 2023

A parent can’t contract away a child’s right to support. The mother filed to find the father in contempt for failure to pay support. The father had stopped paying support when the parents youngest child turned 18. The father argued that a provision in the divorce decree ended support when the youngest child turned 18 or emancipated. The chancery court gave the father credit for some expenses he had paid on behalf of the child but entered a judgment against father for support up to the child’s 21st birthday. The father appealed. The appellate court affirmed the decision. Mississippi law clearly states that parents can’t contract away their children’s rights to support before the child reaches the age of 21, unless the child emancipates. Such a provision in a divorce decree is unenforceable. The father provided no evidence of the child’s emancipation.