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When Does Child Support End in CA?

In the event of a divorce, the noncustodial parent is obligated to pay the custodial parent monthly child support payments to provide for the child’s needs, from food and shelter to education and healthcare. But continuous payments for many years can cause financial strife, which is why many custodial parents wonder when they can stop paying child support altogether. 

In California, child support generally ends when a child turns 18 years old, which is considered the “age of majority.” Yet, if the child is still a full-time student and not self-supporting, then the duty to pay monthly child support extends until the child becomes 19 or graduates from high school, whichever is sooner. 

Furthermore, both parents may agree to extend child support longer than what is required by law. For instance, a noncustodial parent may continue paying child support until the child graduates from a college or university. Another example is if a child has special needs that prevents him/her from becoming self-supporting well into adulthood, then child support payments may continue for the rest of the child’s life. 

On the other hand, a parent’s duty to pay child support may end before a child reaches the age of majority. Common examples include if a child marries, joins the military, becomes emancipated, becomes self-supporting, or passes away. 

Remember, child support payments do not automatically end when a child becomes of age. If a parent does not ask the court to terminate a child support order, then that parent will still be responsible for continued payments. 

If you are interested in modifying or terminating a child support order in Sacramento, contact The Law Office of David A. Martin & Associates today at (916) 299-3936 for experienced family law representation. Serving the greater Sacramento Valley and surrounding communities since 1995.