To ensure children maintain the same level of living after their parents have divorced, one parent often pays child support to the other. Child support is used to ensure financial stability in the child’s life and covers his or her essentials, as the parents have agreed to in the award. However, child support does not last forever—the parent receiving it and the parent making it should know when it ends, so they can make their plans accordingly. In certain situations, it may be possible to terminate payments early or to extend them past the age they are legally required.
When children reach the age of majority, then most states require child support payments to end. The age of majority is the age when one is no longer considered a minor and can make many legal decisions on their own. In most states, this is when the child turns 18 or graduates from high school. However, some states have kept the age of majority at 21, which is why it is important to know what law applies in the state one is residing in.
When a child becomes self-supporting and no longer relies on financial support from their parents, the child is considered emancipated. Emancipation is a legal process and can be completed before someone reaches the age of majority. An emancipated child can no longer receive child support.
When does child support continue?
In some situations, child support can continue past graduation, if the child support covers education. If this is not mandated under state law, child support awards can include these provisions.
Child support is supposed to benefit children and if a parent believes they should receive support past what is normally the rule, they might want to consider consulting an experienced attorney for guidance.