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Am I done paying child support when my child is 18?

Most aspects of your child support order can be found on the order itself. Everything from pay frequency and amounts, to payer and payee information can be found on the order. What you are not likely to find is an end or termination date for your payments. This is because there are many different things that can impact how long you are ordered to pay child support. If you're thinking it always ends at 18, you may be surprised to find out that depending on what your child does after graduation, you may be making child support payments for a few more years.

If your child has an early birthday and turns 18 before their high school graduation, you will still be required to pay your monthly child support payments until they have graduated. Even then, if they decide to continue their education and are in need of further financial support, a judge can order that support payments continue until they are no longer necessary.

Child support payments that are ordered for educational expenses may be calculated differently than standard child support. Support for an adult child is not necessary and, therefore, does not require that a family court judge adhere to the same guidelines.

If your child suffers from a mental or physical disability, they may also require further financial support. Their condition will likely be considered by a family court judge, and you may be ordered to continue some type of child support to them until other assistance can become available.

It is important for payers to understand that just as a judge ordered the child support payments to begin, a judge must also order that they stop. If you are approaching what you believe to be the end of your child support obligation or are interested in modifying it to meet your adult child's needs or receiving an order to end it, speaking to a family law attorney may help.

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Goddard & Malmquist
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