What Circumstances can Allow Parents to End Child Support?
If you are an Illinois parent paying or receiving child support, you may wonder under what circumstances support payment obligations end under the law. In the state of Illinois, parents are legally required to support their children until they reach the age of 18. When a child turns 18, the state considers the child to be an adult. However, in some situations, support payments may be required past the legal age of the majority.
When a child support order is entered into the record, either following a divorce or as part of the process of establishing paternity, it details the age at which child support payments will cease for Illinois parents. This order governs the date at which parents can legally stop paying support and should anticipate not receiving support. Nonetheless, even if an order states that support ends when the child reaches 18, there are some circumstances that may merit an argument in court to continue payments beyond the child’s 18th birthday.
Some of these include:
- If the child is still attending high school. When a child is still a high school student on his 18th birthday, it is not unusual for the court to determine that the child should receive support until he graduates, or even until he reaches the age of 19.
- If the child is in college or other secondary education programs. Sometimes the courts determine that the non-custodial parent should help with college expenses, such as tuition, room and board, or other expenses related to his secondary education. In some instances, support is ordered for up to four additional years to give the child time to graduate from college.
- If the child is physically or mentally disabled. Courts sometimes determine ongoing support past age 18 for children who have physical or mental disabilities.
Spousal support can also end prior to a child reaching age 18 if the child emancipates himself from parental control. The emancipation of a minor relieves parents of their legal responsibilities to care for the child and provide for his needs. Emancipation must be legal and approved by the court in order to influence parental support requirements.
These issues are a straightforward corner of the law in Illinois. If you need assistance with this matter, reach out to a Highland, IL, family law or divorce attorney to discuss your particular situation in greater detail.