When Can You Stop Paying Court-Ordered Child Support?

Depending on the age of the children, those ordered to pay child support may have a long road ahead of them. Even those with older children may need to keep paying after the child hits age 18. Child support and the way it ends makes up an important part of the divorce proceedings when minor-aged children are involved. Read on to find out about the reasons why child support could be terminated.

Based on Age

In most cases, child support is ordered to cover the care of a child up to the age of majority and that is 18 in most states. The exact timing varies from state to state and case to case, however. The time it ends will always be part of the final divorce decree.

Based On High School Graduation

Not all teenagers graduate high school at age 18. Some may skip grades and graduate early and some may start school late or repeat grades. In addition, some may celebrate their 18th birthday during their senior year. If there was ever a time that child support is needed, it's when the child is in their final year of high school when expenses can run high. That is why some states provide that child support end when the child graduates high school or reaches their 18th birthday.

Based On College Graduation

On the other hand, some parents ask that child support be extended to cover the secondary education period. Some states require that child support continue through at least a few years of college. Usually, child support will stop when the child is about 23 or after four years of college.

Based on Child Emancipation

In some cases, the support will come to an end based on the actions of your child. Children under the age of 18 can ask the courts to legally emancipate them from their parents. This means that parents are stripped of both their parental privileges and responsibilities. This situation, though, is relatively rare and usually exists when the parent-child relationship is irreparably damaged. You might have heard of certain wealthy or famous children "divorcing" their parents in an effort to gain control of their financial situation.

When child support is ordered, it must be paid or the responsible parent will face consequences. Parents are always encouraged to provide what they can to assist in the very expensive task of raising a child and are free to go beyond both the ordered amount and the date of termination. To get more information about child support, speak to a family law attorney or divorce lawyer.