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When Can I Stop Paying Child Support in CA?

Child Support

After a divorce in California, parents must continue to financially support their children. The court may order the noncustodial parent to pay child support to the custodial parent, with who the child will primarily live with. Child support provides for the child’s basic needs, such as shelter, food, clothing, medical care, educational expenses, etc.  

In general, the court order specifies when the payments will end. If not, child support typically ends when a child reaches 18 years of age (i.e., “age of majority). However, if an 18-year-old child is still a full-time student in high school, child support ends when the child graduates from high school or turns 19 years old, whichever occurs sooner. 

On the other hand, there are some situations when the noncustodial parent can stop making child support payments before the child becomes 18, such as the following: 

  • The child becomes legally emancipated 

  • The child gets legally married or enters a domestic partnership 

  • The child joins the United States military 

  • The court ends the custody or support order 

  • The child passes away prior to turning 18 

There are some situations where child support may continue after the child turns 18 or graduates high school. For example, parents can agree to continue child support until the child turns 21 or graduates from college. 

Another example is when a child has special needs. If a physically or mentally disabled child cannot become self-supporting when he/she reaches adulthood, both parents can agree to continue being financially responsible for the child after he/she turns 18. 

Remember, child support does not automatically end in California. Therefore, paying parents must contact a state child support agency representative in order to terminate support. 

If you are interested in modifying or terminating child support in Irvine or within Orange County, call The Neshanian Law Firm, Inc at (949) 577-7935 or fill out our online contact form today to request a free 15-minute phone consultation. Attorney Amy Neshanian is a Certified Family Law Specialist by The State Bar of California Board of Legal Specialization. 

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