When does child support end?

As discussed previously on this blog, the Pennsylvania resident with primary custody of their children will most likely receive child support from the other parent. One of the reasons regular child support payments are so important is because it allows the custodial parent to create a schedule and routine around it. For example, extracurricular activities or childcare services can be scheduled based on knowing how much one is going to receive and when. Therefore, not knowing when such important payments are going to be terminated can cause instability in one’s life.

In most states, child support ends when the child turns 18 or goes to college. However, this is not always the case. It is important to know when child support is legally supposed to end, because not only do steps have to be taken to terminate it but ending it before required or continuing to pay after it could have ended can cause financial hardships for one parent or the other.

Almost all states allow child support to be terminated when the child reaches the age of majority. This refers to the legal age under state law when someone is no longer considered a minor. Where some states peg the age of majority at 18, some consider it to be 21. Support can also come to an end when the child graduates from high school.

There are some situations that could extend child support payments, such as when support is being used to pay for college or the child is special needs or disabled, as courts consider this a form of economic hardship. Given this, it is important to determine which situation one is and when one’s obligation to pay and right to receive ends. Consulting an experienced attorney may be one way to work through the maze that child support can be.

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