Child support generally ends when a child turns 18 or graduates from high school, whichever happens later. Cases of post-secondary education are one instance where that’s different. Still, even that has limits.
If your divorce agreement specifies that you must pay for your child’s college, how long does that order last? What if years pass and your kid never enrolls? Are you on the hook forever or is there a cut off?
Rick Jones, one of our founders, regularly stops by the Danny Bonaduce and Sarah Morning Show, where he takes family law questions from listeners. One recent caller has a 22-year-old who shows no interest in college, but his divorce decree says he has to pay for school. What obligation does he still have?
Related Reading: Child Support and Post-Secondary Education
Listen to the Conversation Below:
Caller: “Per the decree, my ex and I share college expenses for our children. So my question is, considering one of them is about to turn 22 and hasn’t even thought about college, how long does my obligation last?”
Rick: “Do you have any language that specifies that in your child support order?”
Caller: “No, it just says we’ll share expenses.”
Rick: “The good news is this, there actually is statutory law that speaks to it. So in absence of you guys coming to an agreement differently, it talks about the support obligation can go until I believe the age is 23. In other words, that’s the cut-off. But that’s still even if the child is in school. In other words, it just hasn’t completed.
“Let’s say your child is a junior when your child turns 23. Then there’s the argument that the state can no longer enforce that. You still make the choice to do it on your own if the child is successfully getting through that [and] the light at the end of the tunnel is near.
“Even if that child gets their act together, you’re still only looking at maybe a year more of that obligation.”
Related Reading: My Ex Promised to Pay for College but Backed Out