How Long Should Child Support Be Paid? | Tampa Family Law Attorney

How Long Should Child Support Be Paid?

Both the payor of child support and the parent receiving child support want to know how long it will be paid. It’s good to understand when in the child’s life the child support payments will end. Unlike alimony, which usually stops after a certain period of time or when the receiving spouse remarries, child support can continue for quite some time depending on when the parents divorced. Here’s what you need to know about how long child support is typically paid.

Upon the Child’s 18th Birthday

When a child turns 18, they are usually considered by the court to no longer be financially dependent on their parents and logically, child support payments would end at this time. Since no two situations are alike, there are some circumstances in which child support would be terminated either before their birthday or after.

When Child Support Ends Before the Child Turns 18

There are two circumstances in which the court would support a decision to end child support payments prior to the child’s 18th birthday:

  • If the child (male or female) becomes married before the age of 18
  • If the child becomes emancipated after they turn 16 but before they turn 18

This is important information for the payor. If you are making child support payments and your child emancipates or becomes wedded, you’ll want to petition the court for a modification of your original child support order. You will still be legally liable to make those payments until you have the order modified. Keep in mind that this isn’t something the court discovers and completes on its own.

When Child Support Ends After the Child Turns 18

Most child support ends when the child turns 18. However, there are a few situations in which the court would consider payments still necessary. This includes:

  • If the child has a permanent disability that requires them to receive care full-time
  • If the child is temporarily disabled. This could mean an illness or other temporary issue that requires full-time care after their 18th birthday
  • The child is a full-time student and is still living with their custodial parent. In this case, they are considered a dependent until they receive a single post-secondary degree or diploma.

Contact Tampa Family Law Attorney Mindi Lasley, P.A.

If you have questions about how and when child support ends, consult with an experienced family law attorney. Call now for a consultation at (813) 873-9047.

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