The termination of child support and when payments can stop are important and nuanced questions that we often receive as child support lawyers.
Child support payments contribute to various expenses incumbent on the custodial parent. These may include medical costs, school and activity costs for children, as well as food and clothing necessities. These court-ordered payments usually end when a child reaches the age of “Age of maturity” but do parents know exactly when this age is in PA? And are they adequately preparing for order termination?
When a family is going through a divorce, the court aims to keep the best interests of the children in mind, as most family lawyers do. Legal orders are in place to protect children: custody orders seek a structure for children’s new lifestyles, and child support orders ensure that the non-custodial parent contributes financially so that the children’s way of life be maintained as much as possible.
What is the “age of maturity” in Pennsylvania?
The end of the child support order often surprises parents, especially since the order may have been in effect for years. State law dictates when support orders must end. Most states, like Pennsylvania, will end the child support order when the child reaches “the age of maturity,” which is usually the age of 18 or when the child reaches the age of 18. high school diploma, whichever is later. In some states, the “age of maturity,” sometimes referred to as the “age of majority,” is 21.
Can a child support order be terminated sooner?
This is usually not the case, although the order may be terminated earlier if the child becomes emancipated. Through legal process, a child can be emancipated because he is able to support himself. This may coincide with the departure of the child from the house, his entry into the army or his marriage.
Can a child support order be extended?
Alternatively, the order can be extended past the age of 18 or 21 to provide Pennsylvania alimony while the child is in college or in cases where the child has special needs.
Does child support automatically end in PA?
Although the child support order may include a termination date, it does not end automatically. In PA, the non-custodial parent must submit a change request to stop payments. You must take specific steps to terminate the contract. Until the order is effectively terminated, the non-custodial parent is obligated to continue payment.
How do I stop child support?
To anticipate the termination, the parent making the payments must file a modification request a few months before the scheduled end date. In cases with multiple children, this should be done individually for each child. In this case, it may be useful to consult a lawyer specializing in child support.
What if the child support money is still owed?
When the time comes to end a child support order, there may be an overdue balance of payments. Money that is still due is called “arrears. “The arrears are due even after the legal termination of the support order.
Can I get a reduction in child support arrears?
The best practice is to try to reduce the arrears balance before the child support is terminated. The court will usually offer options such as making lump sum payments where possible or reducing the amount of each payment to avoid skips.
What if they don’t pay the child support arrears?
This is where custodial parents may need the help of a child support lawyer. They may find themselves in a situation where they need legal assistance to collect the balance. In these cases, they may have to file a separate civil action to recover the credit.
We try as we could to stop time, the children end up growing. In the rush of having a great time in your child’s life – turning 18, getting married, graduating, and going to college or the military – taking a break from your associated parenting duties is just as important as taking the time to enjoy the moment. For divorced parents, determining the future of the child support order is probably one of those duties. As a parent and family law lawyer, I hope this article provides advice for separated parents.