When Will My Child Support Obligation End?
When a court enters a Uniform Order of Child Support, the obligation to pay support exists until a fixed point in time, usually when a child reaches 18 years of age. However, there are other points at which an obligation may be terminated, either by law, court order, or mutual agreement. It is critical to know what those points may be.
Common Events That End Child Support Obligations
The most common event, as one might imagine, is that the child in question reaches the age of 18, which is considered the age of majority in Illinois and all but a handful of U.S. states. The rationale is simply that no child support may be owed for someone who is no longer a child. However, it is possible that the custodial parent may petition the court to extend the support obligation until the child has either graduated high school or has turned 19 years old. Graduating high school is considered a formative event, and if a child has not yet completed it, their custodial parent may require a few more months or years of support.
Another common time at which a child support obligation is deemed fulfilled is if a child becomes an emancipated minor. A minor can become emancipated if they can prove to a court that they are “mature” and can manage their own legal and financial affairs. A child must be at least 16 years of age in Illinois to petition for emancipation, though this is not the case across the country. If emancipation is granted, a child will no longer have the status of a dependent, and thus any child support paid for that specific person may cease. However, both parents are entitled to weigh in on the matter, and any objection filed has the power to derail the emancipation.
Child Support Past Age 18
There are occasions where a child’s 18th birthday will not end your obligation to pay child support, or at least to contribute to the well-being and upkeep of your child’s life. As stated above, if your child has not turned 18 before graduating high school, the custodial parent can petition the court to ask that it be extended. There are also other circumstances that could cause support to continue. One of the most common is being asked to contribute toward college expenses, for example. Another occasion where child support may be required past the age of 18 is if your child is disabled in some fashion; physical and/or mental health care can often be too much for just one parent to handle.
A Child Support Attorney Can Help
Child support in Illinois is a confusing proposition, and it can be made worse if the time you think your obligation will end turns out not to be the right time. The knowledgeable Geneva child support attorneys at The Law Office of Douglas B. Warlick & Associates have years of experience in these types of cases, and we are happy to answer any questions you may have. We will do our best to guide you toward an optimal outcome for both you and your family. Call 630-232-9700 for a confidential consultation today.