For families relying on child support, it’s important to know exactly how long payments last for. College plans and financial aid opportunities are both in the balance, along with daily expenses and unexpected costs.
While some states extend child support payments to age 21, or provide for support during college, Georgia ends child support payment obligations at age 18. This is considered the “age of majority,” and it’s the point where the child can support him or herself independently, at least according to the courts. If the child is still in high school past 18, child support can last up to age 20, so long as the child is enrolled full-time.
There are a few exceptions, however, that can end child support payments early:
Georgia does not require child support through college or technical training school. Of course, for many families, paying for college tuition takes the help of both parents, not to mention grants and loans. Some parents agree to provide for college expenses in their settlement agreements. Those provisions are fully enforceable, but as they are not mandatory requirements of the Georgia child support guidelines, they require both parents to agree.
If you’re a custodial parent who will be on the receiving end of child support payments, you may wish to include a college provision in your child support agreement. With the help of Marietta child support attorneys, you can create a plan that will help your child pursue higher education without taking on the entire financial burden of tuition, room and board yourself.
Child support payments may also be extended for adult children with special needs. In these cases, the court will likely consider the extent of the disability and its effect on the child’s ability to self-support. The court will also consider how much it will take to pay for the adult child’s medical care, housing and other treatment. Special needs trusts can be ordered by the court as part of the divorce settlement; each parent is required to contribute a certain amount toward the trust for the care of the special needs child.
Once a child reaches the age of majority, the paying parent may think that’s it—the payment obligation simply ends. However, if you are subject to an income deduction order, the payer must first make a request to end payments, starting by contacting the state agency and determining the end date.
It’s also worth noting that child support modifications do not end the child support obligation. When a payer sees a drop in income or loses a job, he or she may petition the court for a downward modification. In some cases, the court will even grant a stay, or pause, in payments while the payer reestablishes a strong financial footing. Eventually, though, payments will resume until the child reaches the age of majority.
If you need help creating a child support plan that works for your family, you need a child support attorney. Bivek Brubaker & Prescott can advise you on your child support plan and help you understand your obligations. Contact us today by calling (866) 527-2630.