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How Long Does My Child Support Obligation Continue?

Child support is meant to cover basic expenses that a parent would be expected to assist with, such as food, housing, healthcare, school supplies, clothing, and additional activities in some cases. Failing to provide court mandated support can lead to wage garnishments and even abuse or neglect charges in some states.

While no parent wants to deny their child the support they need, financial payments can often be very taxing and overwhelming for those with limited income. When a divorce or separation occurs, the parent who does not maintain custody is often required to pay child support. How long these payments will last depends on a number of factors, such as a child's needs, the number of children, each parent's living and job situation, and the age of the child/children.

Understanding the Age of Majority

Typically, the court will require you to pay support until your child reaches the age of majority, which is 18 years old in most cases. In some situations, the court may allow a child to receive support until the age of 19. However, when a child has a disability, child support obligations may be extended past this age range.

In other cases, the support may be terminated earlier, such as when a minor:

  • Gets legally married
  • Enlists in the military
  • Seeks emancipation for any other reason

Your child support payments may also be modified if you lose a job, get a pay increase, suffer a debilitating injury, go through a change in marital status, and so on.

If you want to learn more about how long your child support obligations will continue, feel free to reach out to our Orange County family law attorney. We can help you review your situation and make sure that you are not being asked to pay unfair amounts beyond a reasonable timeframe.