Can you file for child support after a child is 18?

Child support laws require one parent to make monthly payments to the parent with primary custody, to cover the cost of raising the child. While parents have to support their children, they only have to do so until the child gets to the age of maturity. This age of maturity differs by state.

In Pennsylvania, all parents are to support their children till they’re 18 or till they graduate from high school, whichever comes first. Generally, a parent has no obligation to pay for a child’s college fees or take care of the child at adulthood. Although this law is straightforward, child support lawyers in Media PA, will inform you that there’re a few exceptions.

The Exceptions to the Rule

Early Termination Due to Emancipation

Through a court order, a child may file for emancipation before graduating high school or attaining age 18. In some cases, the child leaves home, joins the military, or gets married and is capable of supporting himself. The parent paying child support can terminate the payments early as they’re under no legal duty to support the child.

Voluntary Payment

During the divorce process, some parents voluntarily sign a written statement, agreeing to support the child after they turn 18. This voluntary support is usually to cover the cost of college fees. If you sign such an agreement, it becomes legally enforceable.

If you fail to make such payments, the other parent can take you to court, and a judge will order you to make the payment. One reason to hire child support lawyers in Media PA, is to avoid signing an agreement you end up regretting.

Exceptions for Disabled Children

Mental or physical disability can prevent a child from being independent, and Pennsylvania law considers that. According to the law, child support payments extend beyond 18 years and high school for disabled or special needs children.

In some cases, the payment may count as income for the child, making him/her ineligible for government disability benefits. As a parent, you might need to discuss with your lawyer to know your options.

Ending Child Support Payments

Even with a specified termination date, the deduction of child support payments may not end automatically. Courts have several cases they handle and won’t be able to track when a child attains maturity.

If you’re the parent paying child support, it’s up to you to file for termination. Otherwise, you might overpay beyond the termination date. You’ll need to request for modification of support order, some months before your child graduates or turns 18.

If you have two or more children, you’ll go through this process for each child. You might need help from child support lawyers in Media, PA, to help you file this petition in your county.

Conclusion

Both parents have a responsibility to provide for their children till they’re grown. However, child support payment is one area of contention during divorces. If you live in Pennsylvania, you’re under obligation to pay or receive child support until a certain period. It would help if you understood the laws behind such payments.

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