Your child is approaching their 18th birthday, and you are elated. They're happy, healthy and have reached adulthood. You couldn't be more proud.
Another huge benefit of your child reaching 18 is that you believe you can stop paying child support. You don't intend to stop taking care of your child, but not having that monthly withdrawal from your accounts makes you feel great.
Be careful before assuming that you'll be able to stop paying support, though. That isn't always the case, especially if your child decides to pursue higher education. In some instances, mothers or fathers can be obligated to pay through their child's 21st birthday.
How do you know when you'll be done paying child support?
Go back to your support order that was issued by the judge. In most instances, there will be information about the support order's start and end date. If there is not, then you may wish to petition the court for a modification of your support order following your child's 18th birthday, so that you can have confirmation that you no longer owe support.
Should you just stop paying support when your child turns 18?
Unless you have a court order stating that you can do so, it's not a smart move to stop paying as soon as your child reaches 18. There could be other factors that impact how long you have to pay support, like missed payments in the past or orders to pay a portion of their college costs. Most of these details will be in your court records, but if you're not sure, you can discuss your situation with your attorney before stopping your payments.
Are there times when you won't have to pay support until your child reaches 18?
There are. If your child is a paid military member who is serving, then you will likely no longer have to pay support. Additionally, if they are emancipated, you may not have to pay support any longer, since they will be seen as a legal adult and independent party.
Most parents will know in advance if they need to continue paying support. Some parents in Solana Beach, even after support requirements end, will continue to support their children through their college years. Everyone's situation is different.
Your attorney will have the information you need to know when your obligation to pay support will end or if you need to reach out to the court to end the responsibility.