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When Does Child Support End in California?

Child support is a crucial aspect of divorce or separation cases involving children. However, it is essential for parents to understand when child support obligations come to an end in California. In this blog post, we will provide you with a comprehensive guide on when and how child support terminates in California, ensuring you have the necessary information to navigate this process.

Child support in California typically continues until a child reaches the age of 18. However, there are some exceptions to this general rule that determine when child support may end.

  1. Graduation from High School: In many cases, child support can extend beyond the age of 18 if the child is still attending high school and has not yet graduated. California law allows child support to continue until the child turns 19 or graduates from high school, whichever occurs first.

  2. Emancipation: If a child becomes legally emancipated, meaning they are no longer financially dependent on their parents, child support obligations may cease. Emancipation can occur through marriage, military service, or court declaration of emancipation. In such cases, parents are no longer obligated to provide financial support to the child.

  3. Disability: If a child has a severe disability that renders them incapable of self-support, child support may continue beyond the age of 18. The court may order continued support to ensure that the child's special needs are met.

  4. Agreement Between Parents: Parents can mutually agree to end child support at a specific time or under certain conditions. It is advisable to formalize this agreement in writing, with the approval of the court, to avoid any disputes in the future.

A critical factor to consider is that if child support is owed for past due payments, it must still be paid, even after the child reaches the age of majority. Delinquent child support payments can accrue interest, and parents are legally obligated to settle these arrears.

Navigating the termination of child support can be complex, but having a clear understanding of the process is crucial. By familiarizing yourself with California's laws and regulations, you can ensure a smooth transition when it comes to the end of child support obligations.

If you require further assistance or legal advice, the experienced team at Gordon D. Cruse, APLC, is here to help. Contact us today to discuss your specific situation and receive personalized guidance.