Bringing a child into the world comes with mandatory responsibilities. Taking care of your child physically and financially is part of being a parent. If you are ordered to pay child support because your child primarily lives with his/her other parent, the amount you are court ordered to pay may feel like a burden. Though typically child support payments do not last forever, it is important to understand how long you will be paying child support, because it can vary in a couple of different scenarios.
What is the length of time that I will pay child support?
As the name implies, paying child support involves financially supporting your son or daughter when they are legally a child. You will be required to pay child support until your child reaches the age of majority, which is most often considered to be at age 18. In some states, child support may be extended until your child turns 18, or graduates from high school, whichever is later.
Factors that extend child support
Age is not the only factor to consider when determining how long you will be paying child support.
If you have a child that is special needs or has some other disability that requires ongoing support, you may be required to continue to pay child support well after their 18th birthday. The specific circumstances and the laws in your jurisdiction will determine the duration of support in such cases.
Emancipation: If a child becomes legally emancipated before reaching their 18th birthday, the obligation to pay child support may end. Emancipation can occur if the child gets married, joins the military, becomes financially self-sufficient, or meets other criteria for emancipation defined by state law.
College expenses: In some states, parents may be required to contribute to their child’s college education expenses as part of child support. This obligation is usually outlined in the divorce or child support order and may continue while the child is pursuing higher education.
Agreement: Child support duration can also be influenced by any agreements reached between the parents during divorce or separation proceedings. Parents may agree on a specific duration or conditions for terminating child support, and the court will typically approve these agreements if they are in the child’s best interests.
Change in circumstances: Child support orders can be modified based on a change in circumstances, such as a change in the child’s needs, the paying parent’s financial situation, or the child’s living arrangements. If circumstances warrant it, child support may be extended or terminated earlier than expected.
Your child custody agreement will detail the duration of time you are expected to pay child support. But in most cases, you can plan to pay support for your child until they legally become an adult at the age of 18. If you are in the Las Vegas, NV area and would like specific counsel on your case, give Warnock Family Law a call today.