Child support is often ordered in family law cases. This is especially true when there is a big difference in income between two people or when there is a difference in parenting time and responsibilities. For example, one parent may have physical custody the majority of the time and absorb a lot of daily costs, while the other parent provides child support and has visitation rights.
But how long is this child support order going to last? It’s important for parents to know what their obligations look like and how long they need to provide this support.
The general rule
Every case is unique but, most of the time, child support is going to end when a child turns 18 and/or when they graduate from high school. There are some cases in which it can last a bit longer, but it never goes beyond 20 years old.
For instance, a child may turn 18 right at the end of their senior year of high school. This makes it easy to end the child support payments as that child moves out of the house and likely goes to college.
But what if the child turns 18 at the beginning of their senior year? In a case like that, the support obligations may last for that entire year, not terminating until the child actually graduates and moves out. As long as the child is still living with one parent at home, financial support may be necessary, even if the child is legally an adult at 18.
What if a dispute arises?
In some cases, child support obligations can lead to disagreements when one parent believes payments are still required and the other believes that the obligation has ended. Those involved in these disputes need to know about their legal options.