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Can Child Support Payments Continue After a Child Turns 18?

The amount of child support that is due is determined based on a standard formula that is established under California law. A parent who is under order to pay child support will typically have money automatically collected from his or her paycheck so it can be provided to the parent who has primary or sole custody of a child. Payments must be paid as ordered, or there are serious legal consequences. child support payments after age 18

Parents who are paying child support payments or who are receiving such payments need to understand how long child support is required to be paid.  In some cases, these payments can continue after a child has turned 18. An Irvine, CA family law attorney can provide information on child support guidelines and regulations in California as well as information on when child support payments may be discontinued. To learn more about your rights as a parent and for help protecting your children and ensuring they are financially provided for, contact Brown & Charbonneau, LLP today.

Can Child Support Payments Continue After a Child Turns 18?

Child support payments generally are ordered until a child turns 18. However, if the child is still in high school upon his or her 18th birthday and has not yet graduated, payments may continue for longer. Under these circumstances, the payments can continue until either the child graduates from 12th grade or until the child turns 19. The payments will end at the earlier of the graduation or the child’s 19th birthday.

Sometimes, parents will wish to enter into an arrangement in which a non-custodial parent continues to have obligations to a child even after the child has reached age 18. For example, parents may wish to agree that a non-custodial parent will pay for a portion of a child’s college education or will keep supporting a child in college. This type of agreement is a voluntary one that parents can make together- a parent is generally not going to be forced to contribute to a child’s continued support or to ongoing educational costs. However, if parents do agree that the non-custodial parent will make these payments, they should get the agreement in writing so it becomes legally enforceable.

Child support payments may also sometimes be discontinued before a child reaches age 18, if the custody situation changes or if there are other material changes in circumstances. For example, if your child has begun living with you or if your income has declined significantly as a result of a job loss or career change, you may be able to petition the court to get your original child support order modified. Based on California’s standard child support formula, your child support payments may be reduced or eliminated when these changes occur.

Brown & Charbonneau, LLP has extensive experience helping families with legal issues related to child support. Whether you are seeking to collect, modify, or end child support payments, we can help you to understand the rules and to pursue appropriate legal action. To learn more, contact our Irvine child support and family law attorneys today at 714-505-3000