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. These enforcement measures can continue after the child turns 18, and most states do not allow child support obligations to be discharged in bankruptcy. Internet Explorer 11 is no longer supported. Cases with past-due support may be enforced up to 20 years after the youngest child reaches the age of 18. The Rules for Back Child Support. If you are paying child support already, you have an Order of Assignment. There are some exceptions, however. By Andrea Johnson. © LegalZoom.com, Inc. All rights reserved. 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. This payment of indefinite child support may be ordered against either or both parents. Typically, parents must pay child support until the child is 18. 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 cases, child support payments in Arizona will be discontinued legally on the last day of the month in which your child turns 18. Parents may receive a letter saying support for a disabled child will stop at age 18. 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. In many cases, however, you need a court order relieving you of the obligation. However, certain exceptions could arise that may justify child support payments beyond the age of 18. How Long Can I Collect Past-Due Child Support? 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. However, the courts can in their discretion order support to be paid longer than that, but only under limited circumstances.. Child support collection can be complicated, both legally and emotionally. 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. For example, some states cut off child support at 18, some at 19, and others at 21. 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. As we mentioned earlier, child support in Pennsylvania ends when a child turns 18 or graduates high school, whichever happens later. This portion of the site is for informational purposes only. Those who are late making child support payments are said to be "in arrears." The content is not legal advice. Keep in mind that state laws can vary a little on this issue. (Learn your state’s child support laws.). If you fall behind in child support payments, you must pay interest on the balance due on top of the amount you owe. Terms of Use and Not knowing when child support ends can be concerning, especially if you're the parent who is receiving the child support. Interest charges are added by law, and the judge cannot stop them. All rights reserved. The age of the child alone does not remove the obligation. Child support typically terminates when a child reaches the age of 18 or graduates from high school. Keep in mind that state laws can vary a little on this issue. But for how long? For child support to be continued during that time period, the child must qualify as a “child attending school” (see below). Although many states have child support terminating by law at age 18, that is not the case in New York. Questions Parents ask about When Child Support … This is called adult child maintenance. 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. 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. Privacy Policy. (And some dismiss child support obligations if the child has been "emancipated.") What Is the Process of Getting Divorced While in Different States. 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. in Jail, Collecting Back Child Support After the Child Turns 18, Need help with child support? 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. 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. However, there is one exception. 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. 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. 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. 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. Most states terminate child support obligations when a child reaches age of … This site is protected by reCAPTCHA and the Google Privacy Policy and Terms of Service apply. How to Get Child Support Dropped If the Child Is 18. Begin typing to search, use arrow keys to navigate, use enter to select, Please enter a legal issue and/or a location. Copyright © 2020, Thomson Reuters. 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