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California Child Support: When Do Child Support Payments End?

California law states that children have the right to be supported financially by both of their parents. When necessary the court will order child support obligations per the law with payments intended to provide the child with necessities like housing, food, clothing, educational costs, medical expenses, and other reasonable expenses.

Basics of California Child Support:

Child support payments are typically paid to the parent who has primary custody of the child. The amount of child support is based on California Child Support Guidelines taking into account the incomes of both parents and the amount of time the child spends with each parent. Child support does not end with monthly payments from one parent to the other. It also includes a provision regarding medical support, ensuring one or both parents provide insurance coverage for the child with uncovered healthcare expenses usually split 50/50 between the child’s parents. There is also a childcare provision included in most California child support orders when the custodial parent needs to work or receive job training, etc. Child care expenses are also usually split 50/50 unless otherwise noted in the document.

When Do Child Support Payments End?

California law states that child support payments terminate when a child turns 18 years old, except when the child is still a full-time high school student and lives with a parent. If that is the case, the child support payments terminate when the child turns 19 or graduates from high school, whichever occurs first, with a few exceptions noted below. Other reasons for the termination of California child support include: the child marries, the child joins the military, the child is emancipated or the child dies. If the parent requests a child’s emancipation to avoid paying child support, the court will not allow the termination of parental rights.

What Happens if You Don’t Pay Court Ordered Child Support?

Failing to pay child support can have severe consequences. If a parent can pay child support, but they refuse to do so, they can be found in contempt of court, an offense that can result in jail time. Parents who are behind on child support when the child reaches the age of 18 should not consider themselves freed of their past obligation. Unpaid child support is still due even if it takes the parent several years to pay.

If you are interested in seeking the help of an experienced California divorce attorney to file for divorce or if you have questions about child support in California, please get in touch with The Maggio Law Firm today.

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