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What To Know About Child Support Termination

Parents who are divorced will need to have a child support agreement in place. Unless the parents are living together, the parent who does not have physical custody of the child will be ordered by the court to pay support to a child. This money usually is paid to the parent, and is meant to contribute to food, clothing, educational expenses, and other living expenses. Child support almost always has an expiration date, however. Read on to learn more about child support termination dates.

Typical Child Support Duration Situations

Every state views this situation differently, but most use a similar approach in general. The support order will always state either the date or the circumstances under which child support will be discontinued. In some states, the child support ends when the child reaches their majority, which is 18 in most states. In other states, the parent must continue paying child support for a longer period of time. If the child becomes emancipated, the support will end regardless of the support agreement.

Educational Considerations

Many states use the child's graduation from high school as a termination date, since some turn 18 while still in school and some take an extra year to graduate. Often the wording includes a limit of age 20, however. Many states require child support to continue past high school and into secondary education. There are usually limits in place that allow a child to continue receiving the support to a certain age (like age 23) or until they obtain a degree, whichever comes first.

Child Emancipation

If you have heard the term "divorcing your parents" you might be familiar with child emancipation. If a child under the age of 18 wants to be treated as an adult under the law, they can be emancipated. This means that the child intends to live free of any type of financial support that a parent might provide. This process requires a court order, and once the order is approved, child support will terminate immediately. Typically, a child will seek emancipation for the following reasons:

  • Financial reasons: Children under the age of 18 cannot control their own finances. Child actors, for example, who have made a great deal of money may wish to take control of it without their parent's intervention.
  • Relationship problems: Children and parents who cannot get along may spur this type of legal separation.

For assistance in creating a child support agreement that addresses the above issue and more, speak to your child support attorney today.