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When do California child support obligations end?

Child support is an important way for parents to provide for their children after they go through a divorce. When deciding how much child support a child should receive, a court will consider a number of factors related to the parents’ incomes, standard of living, and the amount of time each of the parents has custody over the youth. Child support amounts can differ, and it is important that readers talk to their attorneys about their unique cases as this post does not provide any legal advice.

Child support, however, is often not a lifelong legal commitment. Depending on the needs of the family and the child, child support can end at adulthood or at other pre-determined times. The following are some of the timelines and events that can help determine when a parent’s obligation to pay child support will cease.

  • Age: When a child reaches the age of 19, their child support payments may end
  • High School Graduation: When a child is 18 and has completed high school, their child support payments may be terminated
  • Emancipation: A child who emancipates from their parents before the age of 18 may lose their right to child support
  • Marriage: If a child marries before becoming an adult, they may be denied continued child support
  • Military Enlistment: A child under the age of 18 who joins the military may no longer be eligible to receive child support

Parents should know, however, that they can choose to support their children for as long as they want. Children who suffer from mental and physical disabilities may require long-term or lifelong support from their parents. The end of a child support obligation will differ from family to family, and legal help from a family law attorney can provide clarity for readers with further questions.