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When does child support end in California?

Raising a child can be an expensive undertaking, particularly here in the Bay Area. From child care costs to clothing, food to fun activities, a parent can spend a chunk of their paycheck on making sure that their child has everything they need. When a child's parents are not married, the adults may work out a child support agreement or have a court issue a child support order that dictates how much each parent must pay for the maintenance of their child.

Past posts on this blog have discussed what sources of income and what types of expenses can go into a child support determination. However, many parents go into child support wanting to know exactly when they will be done paying their monthly obligation. While the information in this post will not apply in all cases and should not be read as legal advice, there are some general guidelines that determine when child support may end.

First, a child support order or agreement may terminate when a child attains the age of 18 and graduates from high school. Additionally, a child support obligation may end when a child turns 19-years-old. Finally, child support may terminate when a child is no longer under their parents' control, such as when they marry or join the military.

Parents and courts can decide that child support should be paid longer than these general guidelines. If a child suffers from a medical condition that requires them to receive ongoing care then child support may become a lifelong obligation. To obtain the best information about a particular child support case, readers should discuss their questions with their personal family law attorneys.

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