Visit our professional site ». The reality is that in most states you may be required to continue paying child support after your child has reached the age of 18, particularly if your child is in college or has special needs. As noted above, this debt does not go away, even after the child turns 18. The content is not legal advice. Ultimately, the date you can get child support dropped depends on the laws of your state and the language in your divorce decree. Google Chrome, An important difference in child support for children over 18 years of age is that the child support tables no longer presumptively apply (although most judges use the tables as a starting point) and other arrangements can be made for their support to suit their particular circumstances. Privacy Policy. Child support obligations are just one example of the importance of obtaining a favorable divorce decree. Prior to the 1997 changes to the Divorce Act, judges were allowed to decide whether parents had to make child support payments for children 16 years of age or older. Child born out of wedlock had same rights to support after age 18 from adjudicated father as children of divorced parents would have from their parents. Most states terminate child support obligations when a child reaches age of … It is also possible that your divorce decree mandates that you … There are some exceptions, however. So even though the child has reached the age a majority, the payments that should have been made before he or she turned 18 are still enforceable after that. in Jail, Collecting Back Child Support After the Child Turns 18, Need help with child support? Several different factors can muddy the waters and it’s not uncommon for a parent to pay support beyond this age. Tennessee Code Annotated Section 34-1-102 (b) states that parents shall continue to be responsible for the support of each child for whom they are responsible after the child reaches eighteen (18) years of age if the child is in high school. Just because your ex missed a child support payment doesn't mean the obligation goes away. In this event, child support will continue until the child graduates—with a maximum age for graduation of 19. Dad Pays Back Child Support, Gets 6 Mos. Microsoft Edge. As a matter of a child support, you are obligated to continue coverage pursuant to the order or agreement entered into by the parties and approved by the court. Use of our products and services are governed by our To keep support going, parents should provide the agency proof of the child's disability right away. If the child has not completed high school, emancipation will only take place upon graduation. The reality is that in most states you may be required to continue paying child support after your child has reached the age of 18, particularly if your child is in college or has special needs. We recommend using However, the courts can in their discretion order support to be paid longer than that, but only under limited circumstances.. In that situation, the court is likely to order you to pay child support until their 19th birthday. An adult child may be entitled to receive payments in order to complete their education, because of a serious illness, or … (To learn about child support for post-high school education, … For example, in some states, the child is considered an adult at age 18 while other states say 19 or 21; some say the child becomes an adult after finishing high school, regardless of age. Therefore, if a child graduates after the age of 18, but before the age of 19, the child support will terminate the day the child graduates—with one exception. (Consumer Injury - Family). If a parent voluntarily paid child support after it was “supposed to” end; for example, on the date the child graduated high school, the paying parent cannot obtain a reimbursement for overpaid child support. Those who are late making child support payments are said to be "in arrears." Support may continue until the age of 21 if the child is still in school. These items are pro-rated on the basis of the parent’s “net disposable incomes”—the money they each have available to spend. Enforcement officials can withhold or revoke driver's licenses or passports, garnish wages, seize tax refunds, place liens on property, or even sentence a delinquent parent to jail time. In most, there are three ways in which your child support obligations can end: There are a few common exceptions that require you to continue paying child support despite your child reaching the age of majority, though. It is also possible that your divorce decree mandates that you keep paying even though your child is legally an adult. The support period could be shorter if the child marries, joins the military, or otherwise becomes self-supporting. Child support typically terminates when a child reaches the age of 18 or graduates from high school. You may be obliged to pay child support after the child has turned 18 if they still require financial support. Child support refers to a parent's court-ordered payments to help with the costs of raising a child. (Learn your state’s child support laws.). Also, some states and courts may modify child support obligations after the child turns 18, since the custodial parent no longer needs to support the child. Agreement ends before or when your child turns 18 You can’t extend your agreement if it ends on the day your child turns 18. If you fall behind in child support payments, you must pay interest on the balance due on top of the amount you owe. Thank you for subscribing to our newsletter! For example, a parent may be required to pay child support until the child graduates from high school, even if this event does not occur until after the child is 18. In most situations, child support is ordered until the child reaches the age of 18. Search. Our network attorneys have an average customer rating of 4.8 out of 5 stars. Attorneys with you, every step of the way. To do this both parents must sign the Child over 18 years of age in full time secondary education form. In many cases, however, you need a court order relieving you of the obligation. How long do I have to pay child support? Keep in mind that state laws can vary a little on this issue. All rights reserved. Like any financial obligation, the amount you're owed will accumulate and your ex will still be responsible for making back child support payments. It is important to note, first of all, that rules on child support vary greatly by state. When a child turns 19 years old, the child is emancipated by operation of law, and the non-custodial parent's obligation to pay current child support terminates. After this age, it depends what your child chooses to do. In this case, the child support continues during the incapacity or until further order of the court. When Child Support Can Last Beyond 18 In the alternative, some circumstances can extend the length of time you are required to pay child support. Although many states have child support terminating by law at age 18, that is not the case in New York. Learn more about FindLaw’s newsletters, including our terms of use and privacy policy. If you have questions regarding child support obligations or are having trouble collecting back child support, you should contact an experienced family law attorney in your area. If a child under the age of 18 moves in with the non-custodial parent, the former custodian may become eligible to pay child support. For example, some states cut off child support at 18, some at 19, … In some states, you can stop making payments the month after your obligation ends. Get the right guidance with an attorney by your side. Are you a legal professional? This site is protected by reCAPTCHA and the Google Privacy Policy and Terms of Service apply. The disability exception to the general rule is the only time that a court can order that support to be paid after the child reaches 18 years of age, or graduates from high school, whichever comes last. These enforcement measures can continue after the child turns 18, and most states do not allow child support obligations to be discharged in bankruptcy. How to Get Child Support Dropped If the Child Is 18. There are situations that necessitate additional child support payments, regardless of the age. The Massachusetts child support statutes treat children who have turned 18, but who are still enrolled in high school, as minors for child support purposes. These include: The process for ending your child support payments depends on the laws of your state, regardless of the reason your obligation has terminated. Copyright © 2020, Thomson Reuters. Even if you are not legally obligated to pay child support for your 18-year-old, you would still have to pay for your younger children. © LegalZoom.com, Inc. All rights reserved. After determining the basic child support obligation, you can use the Worksheet to calculate adjustments for unreimbursed medical expenses, necessary child care, and payment of support arrearages. Legally Ending Child Support Payments. Even with these differences, however, the rule is that child support payments must continue until the arrears balance is paid in full, regardless of the child's age. An exception is if the child is incapacitated. By Andrea Johnson. It is customary to include language in the parties divorce decree that states child support shall continue after the parties child reaches 18 years old and is still enrolled in high school. The statements and opinions are the expression of author, not LegalZoom, and have not been evaluated by LegalZoom for accuracy, completeness, or changes in the law. Children are eligible for child support until they reach the age of 21, but special criteria apply for the continuance of child support between the ages of 18 and 21. Pursuant to the CSSA, child support ends upon a child turning 21. In most cases, child support payments in Arizona will be discontinued legally on the last day of the month in which your child turns 18. This payment of indefinite child support may be ordered against either or both parents. The Rules for Back Child Support. Pursuant to this exception, a parent seeking the continuation of child support after the age of 18, faces the difficulty of establishing what type of mental or physical incapacity justifies the extension of child support beyond the age of 18. Name Getting help with your divorce can pay dividends for years to come if you can reach a decree order that is reasonable and fair. If you are paying child support already, you have an Order of Assignment. The most common example is when your child is still in high school at the time they turn 18. Children at least age 18 and under 21 who are attending school may be entitled to receive child support payments from their parent (s) if there is a current support order. There are several instances when child support can be ordered past the age of 18. So even though the child has reached the age a majority, the payments that should have been made before he or she turned 18 are still enforceable after that. We're available Mon-Fri 5 a.m. to 7 p.m. PT and weekends 7 a.m. to 4 p.m. PT. We are not a law firm, or a substitute for an attorney or law firm. Typically, parents must pay child support until the child is 18. But for how long? Not knowing when child support ends can be concerning, especially if you're the parent who is receiving the child support. There are several situations where it is common for a parent to be obligated to pay child support after a child’s 18th birthday. Parents may receive a letter saying support for a disabled child will stop at age 18. If a child is dependent due to mental or physical incapacity that began prior to the age of 18. But you and the other parent can make a new agreement before your child turns 18 to continue child support. Whether you’ll have to depends on your state’s unique rules. Interest charges are added by law, and the judge cannot stop them. The first reason that child support may continue after age 18 in Massachusetts is the simplest: your child may still be in high school. Internet Explorer 11 is no longer supported. States and the federal government are pretty serious when it comes to enforcing child support orders. For example, some states cut off child support at 18, some at 19, and others at 21. Child support collection can be complicated, both legally and emotionally. Child support generally runs until a child turns 18, but if your ex missed payments during that time, can you still collect back child support after that? In order to stop paying support for someone over 18, a parent must prove the child can live alone. The age of 18 has a reputation for being the magical number when child support ends, but it doesn’t always happen this way. What Is the Process of Getting Divorced While in Different States. How Long Can I Collect Past-Due Child Support? Firefox, or If they continue in full-time non-advanced education (see below for information about the new school/education leaving age rules), not higher than A-level equivalent, for at least 12 hours a week, then your maintenance payments will continue until your child finishes or until they turn 20. I suggest you have an... 0 found this answer helpful This is called adult child maintenance. Cases with past-due support may be enforced up to 20 years after the youngest child reaches the age of 18. For child support to be continued during that time period, the child must qualify as a “child attending school” (see below). As we mentioned earlier, child support in Pennsylvania ends when a child turns 18 or graduates high school, whichever happens later. The age of the child alone does not remove the obligation. Keep in mind that state laws can vary a little on this issue. (And some dismiss child support obligations if the child has been "emancipated.") This portion of the site is for informational purposes only. It is a common misconception that child support obligations end when your child turns 18. Generally, Virginia child support orders terminate when a child reaches the age of 18, or is legally emancipated. Income withholding may continue at the same level of collection until past-due child support is paid in full. The amended legislation raised that threshold to the age of majority of the province or territory in which the children live (age 18 or 19; see box). However, there is one exception. However, certain exceptions could arise that may justify child support payments beyond the age of 18. Questions Parents ask about When Child Support … If you're filing for divorce and you have a child who is 18 or older, your decree may or may not include a child support obligation, depending on several circumstances and whether you have other children. One thing to keep in mind is that some states may have statutes of limitation on collection of back child support, so may only have a limited time to collect after your child turns 18 or you may have to go back to court and renew the child support order. However, child support obligations are based on state laws and decisions in individual cases. Begin typing to search, use arrow keys to navigate, use enter to select, Please enter a legal issue and/or a location. Attorney, Cordell & Cordell Child support is typically paid until the child reaches the age of majority, which is usually 18 or 21 years old depending on the state. Get a free review of your case now. Terms of Use and For this reason, you may need a court order relieving you of your child support obligations. Child Attending School Requirements Block on Trump's Asylum Ban Upheld by Supreme Court, Judges Can Release Secret Grand Jury Records, Politicians Can't Block Voters on Facebook, Court Rules. 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