Child Support: When Should It Stop?
Child support is not designed to be a continuing payment for the rest of a child’s life. In fact, it’s designed only to assist with the child’s financial needs as long as the child is a dependent. However, when a child stops being a dependent varies greatly depending on the family’s circumstances. Here’s what you need to know about how long child support is paid and when it should be expected to end after a divorce.
When the Child Reaches the Age of 18
At the age of 18, a child becomes an adult and in the eyes of the court system. Therefore, the child should no longer rely financially on their parents. Therefore, this is typically the time at which child support payments are stopped. In some cases though, the court may extend child support payments beyond the child’s 18th birthday, or end them prior.
Under What Circumstances Will Child Support Stop Early?
In some cases, the court can decide to stop child support payments before the child turns 18 years of age. Below is the eligibility criteria:
- The child gets married before they turn 18
- The child emancipates him or herself between the ages of 16 and 18
If you are the payor of child support and your child has married or become emancipated, it’s crucial that you contact an attorney to file a motion to modify the original child support orders. The court typically will not end child support payments without a petition by you, but you can get into serious legal trouble if you decide to stop paying without an order in place — even if the above conditions are met.
Under What Circumstances Will Child Support Stop Late?
Child support payments can continue past the child’s 18th birthday in some situations. For example, if the child is permanently disabled or temporarily disabled and requires full-time care, the court may deem it necessary for the payor to continue making payments until the child no longer becomes disabled, or for the remainder of their life if the disability is expected to continue.
Or, if the child is a full-time college student and still lives with the primary custodian while in school, the court may decide to continue support payments. At that time, support payments end when the child receives one diploma or post-secondary degree.
Reach Out to a Huntington Beach Divorce Lawyer Today
Don’t hesitate to get into contact with an experienced divorce and child support lawyer if you have questions or concerns with the early or late termination of child support payments. Call now for an appointment at (714) 740-2542.
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