Child support is used to make sure the child or children of the parents who are now divorced still have the same quality of life they were expecting to have when the parents were together. It is not right to leave one parent financially responsible for a child, they must provide meals, supplies for school, clothing, doctors visits and the list goes on. Often times, the divorced parents will disagree on the amount that should be paid for child support, if you are in this situation you may want to contact a child support lawyer to see how they can help.
Child support payments do not just become less and less over the years, there are certain steps one needs to take in order to get the child support payment amount lessened or dropped completely. These steps are called child support modifications, we will talk more on that soon. Now, let us start by discussing what events can happen that end child support without performing modifications.
When Do Child Support Payments End?
There are a few ways child support payments can be done and ended, each state has differing laws when it comes to this but there are some common reasons across the board. The first is when the child reaches what is called “age of majority.” This is referring to the legal age a state has defined as when the individual is no longer considered a minor and can make certain legal choices by themselves.
Most times the age deemed by the state when one is no longer a minor is 18, but child support can also end before they turn 18 if they graduated high school before their 18th birthday. So, either they must turn 18 or graduate high school in order for the “age of majority” clause to take over and end the child support payments.
That said, there are some cases in which child support will still be required after the child reaches the age of majority. Some states will permit the payments to continue in order to pay for the child’s education, so depending on what state you are in if the said child decides to go to college you might still be liable for making child support payments. Another case where child support may be required after the age of maturity is special needs cases. If the child is disabled or has special needs and has to be taken care of by one of the parents after they reach the age of majority then most times the courts will rule that the payments continue.
There is also the case where a child can become “emancipated.” Emancipation is a term that is used to describe a court process that deems the child is able to be self-supporting and does not need the support financially speaking of his or her parents. They can become emancipated before they turn 18 or graduate high school, get married, joins the army or some branch of the military, leaves the household, or they became financially independent. If any of these situations occurred and a child becomes emancipated child support payments will no longer be required.
Those situations will get one out of paying child support payments without modifications. As mentioned before, child support payments do not decrease as the child ages on their own, certain legal steps must be taken to do so.
These steps are called child support modifications ad they can help decrease or increase the amount paid for child support. Some events that one experiences in their life may call for a modification of the child support agreement. Some of these events could be one lost their job, one of the parents were seriously injured, or one of the parents had a change in their marital status. If any of these events happen a parent can seek an order to have the arrangement modified. This can be the parent making the payments may look to lower the amount paid, or the parent receiving the payments may look to get the amount increased.
It would be a wise decision to hire a child support lawyer in the event you are seeking a child support modification, they can help in many numbers of ways. Or you may want to look to hire one of these skilled lawyers if you are just starting the child support payments negotiation process as they may be able to help get you more or less depending on if you are paying or receiving the child support payments.
How a Child Support Lawyer Can Help You
A skilled child support lawyer will know the state laws, statutes and case laws needed to support your side of the child support payment argument. They will also know the legal processes in place, the local judges and their personalities, other opposing lawyers and even the local courthouse staff. These relationships can be a determining factor on the outcome of the case and can be considered invaluable in the end.
A knowledgeable and skilled child support attorney will always respect you, your ex-spouse, and children as these cases take place. They know the courtroom is a frightening thing for most so they can give you peace of mind knowing they have it all taken care of. Reach out to a child support lawyer today for help with modifying your child support payments.