Protecting Your Child:
The Law on Support

child law support

How long does the non custodial parent have to pay for a child? The law on support says that it is at least until they are 18 and must continue until they are 19 or graduate from high school. If you have missed payments during an offspring’s childhood, you may be obligated to pay back child support after they are adults.

If your child, “Johnny” is 17 when he graduates in June and his birthday is not until August, the payer will continue child support until August. If “Suzie” turns 18 in January but does not graduate until the following June, support will continue through June.

If the child becomes emancipated, child support should cease.

After child support ends, you no longer have to pay it. However, if you have “arrears” – that is, if you owe money to the other parent or to the state, you will have to make good on that payment even after the children are grown through back child support payments.

I have seen cases where the children are in their 30s when the state catches up with the non-paying parent. The parent then has to make “child” support payments even though they are now self supporting adults. Indeed, when this kind of case shows up, the interest on the arrears is often more than the principle itself.

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