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How Long Will I Pay Child Support?

child support

As a parent who shares custody of your child, you are most likely either on the paying or receiving end of child support. While supporting your child with these payments, you may be concerned about when child support ends and how to prepare for this change. Our child custody and support attorneys at Embry Family Law P.C. share what you should know about the termination of child support.

Natural Termination of Child Support

Once established, the paying parent will pay child support until the child reaches the natural termination age of 18. This financial support is meant to help support the child’s needs and medical care until the child is a legal adult or has become emancipated from their parents.

Exceptions for Child Support Termination

Child support payments can be extended past the age of 18 in certain circumstances to help the parent with primary custody support the child.

Your Child Is Still in High School

If your child is still a high school student on their eighteenth birthday and lives with their parents, child support can continue to be paid to support your child. These extended support payments can continue until the day they graduate from high school unless they turn 19 years old first.

Your Child Turn 19 Years Old

If your child is still an enrolled high school student and turns 19, child support payments will terminate on their nineteenth birthday, even if they have not yet graduated. At the time of the termination of child support, you are no longer legally obligated to pay or receive support payments for your child or support them yourself.

Early Termination of Child Support

In California, the early termination of child support results from the child’s emancipation from its parents or another qualifying event.

The Child Is Emancipated

If your child pursues emancipation and the emancipation is finalized, child support payments will terminate. As emancipation eliminates the parents’ custody of the child, they are no longer obligated to provide financial support for their child’s care.

The Child Enters the Military

If your child enlists in the military at the age of 17, their child support will terminate early as they now earn a salary with which they can support themselves.

The Child Marries

If your child marries before they turn 18, child support will terminate, and they will be financially responsible for supporting themselves and their spouse. While you are no longer obligated to support your child, you can continue to support them financially if you wish.

The Child Passes Away

If your child passes away before their eighteenth birthday or high school graduation, child support will terminate, and payments will no longer be sent or received for their care.

Am I Financially Responsible For My Children Until They Graduate From College?

As you are no longer financially obligated to support your child once child support terminates, you are not required to become financially responsible for your children until they graduate from the college or university of their choice.

After the natural termination of child support, parents can agree to continue supporting their children further if they would like. This can involve financially supporting your child through their graduation from higher education or helping provide during this period.

You should do what is best for your family when determining if you will continue to financially support your children while they pursue higher education.

San Diego Child Custody Attorneys

Budgeting for child support can be one of the biggest challenges for parents who share custody of their children. Our child custody and support attorneys understand that budgeting for child support payments can be difficult, especially as your child grows older. At Embry Family Law P.C., our team is here to help support you as your family undergoes major changes and prepares for the loss of child support.

Schedule a consultation with our team today to learn more about how child support terminates. We are waiting for your call! (619) 485-6476