Parents rely on child support payments to pay for food, a home, and even educational expenses for their children. So many divorced people ask about how long they can expect to receive these payments. The standard answer is until the child turns 18. But is that correct?
It could be. However, the lifetime of your child support payments could extend beyond your child turning 18—or they could potentially end before then. To know for sure, a family law attorney would have to look over the specifics of your case.
The key is to understand the factors that go into determining the length of the payments.
Circumstances To Consider
If someone—who isn’t an attorney—tells you that child support payments won’t stop until the child reaches 18 years of age, they are only partially correct. However, this is only one way in which the payments cease.
In Washington State, a child graduating from high school is one way that payments could end before they reach 18. Getting married would stop them as well. On the other hand, child support could last well beyond the end of high school or an 18th birthday.
One reason for that would be if the child had a disability that would require additional care into their adult years.
Because it was mentioned that high school plays a factor, which is more important? For instance, if your child turns 18 during high school, which standard takes precedence? Ultimately, it is whichever occurs later. In the previous scenario, child support would continue through high school graduation despite having had their 18th birthday.
Everything up until this point has focused on the child. It is essential to point out that things will happen to the parent paying support that may impact the payments. If the parent’s earning potential or income changes, the amount you receive could be altered to take into consideration the paying parent’s reduced income.
The circumstances surrounding each person’s family law issue are going to be as unique as the people. If you have further questions about child support—or anything related to family law, contact Zafiro Law to schedule a consultation. Together, we can navigate the complexities of family law to achieve the peace of mind you need and deserve.