When Does Child Support End?


Court-ordered child support that is the result of a Pasadena divorce generally ends when the child turns 18 years old. If he or she is still a full-time high school student, however, child support will end when the child graduates or turns 19.

Child support payments also end when:

  • A child joints the military
  • A child marries or registers a domestic partnership
  • A child's request to become an emancipated minor is approved
  • A child dies

In special circumstances, the court can order child support payment beyond the standard amounts. For example, both parents may be required to continue supporting a disabled child who can't obtain employment due to his or her condition.

Although a growing number of states are requiring parents to pay support for a child who is attending college, California does not have any law that requires this. However, you can have support for tuition expenses written up as part of your divorce settlement if desired.

A termination of parental rights, whether voluntary or involuntary, stops the obligation to pay child support but does not erase the obligation to pay arrears. A judge will not approve a voluntary termination of parental rights unless it is determined to be in the child's best interests, however.

A parent who refuses to pay court-ordered child support will face severe legal sanctions, but there is a process in place to help reduce the amount of child support that is due if the parent's circumstances change and he or she can't make the original payment. If you need to have your child support payments reduced, you should discuss this issue with your lawyer. Do not simply stop making payments or pay less than the required amount, since interest will quickly accumulate on this debt.

How Can We Help?

Understanding child support laws in the state of California can be very complicated. If you require assistance on a child support issue, please call our office at (626) 683-8113 or email us at info@PasadenaLawOffice.com to speak to one of our experienced Pasadena family law lawyers.