After a divorce, parents are legally obligated to provide financially for their children. Child support can cover expenses such as food, clothing, education, health care, and more. That said, if you pay child support, or are to receive child support, you may wonder how long it will last in Pennsylvania. Read on and reach out to the Pennsylvania family lawyers at Berman Voss to learn when child support may end. Here are some of the questions you may have:
When will child support end in Pennsylvania?
The general rule is that child support ends when the child turns 18 years old or graduates from high school, whichever happens later. This is based on the presumption that the child becomes emancipated and self-supporting at that age. However, there are some exceptions and variations to this rule, depending on the circumstances of each case.
What are the exceptions?
Some of the factors that can extend or terminate child support before or after the age of 18 are as follows:
- The child has special needs: If the child has a physical or mental disability that prevents him or her from becoming self-supporting, the court may order child support to continue indefinitely, until the disability is removed or the child’s needs are otherwise met.
- The child’s education: If the child attends college or vocational school after high school, the court may order child support to continue until the child completes his or her education or reaches the age of 23, whichever happens first. However, this is not automatic and depends on several factors, such as the child’s academic performance, the parents’ income and resources, and the availability of financial aid.
- The child joins the military: If the child joins the military before turning 18 or graduating from high school, the court may terminate child support, as the child is considered emancipated by military service.
- The parent dies: If the parent who pays child support dies before the child turns 18 or graduates from high school, the court may order the parent’s estate to continue paying child support until the obligation ends. Alternatively, the court may order the surviving parent to pay child support to the other parent who has custody of the child.
- The parent undergoes a significant change in circumstances: If the parent who pays or receives child support experiences a significant change in his or her income, expenses, health, or other circumstances that affect his or her ability to pay or need support, the court may modify or terminate child support accordingly.
If you have further questions or need a competent child support lawyer in your corner, contact Berman Voss today.