Helping Families for 25+ Years

When Does Child Support End in California?

Child support covers a child’s basic needs (e.g., food, shelter, clothing, as well as education and medical expenses) and any other reasonable expenses after a divorce or legal separation. This monthly payment is generally paid to the custodial parent, with who the child primarily resides.

Father holding child's hand

According to California family law, child support ends when a child turns 18 years old, which is considered the “age of majority.” From that date, child custody laws no longer apply.

However, there is an exception to this law when an 18-year-old child is still a full-time high school student. In such situations, child support ends when the child turns 19 or graduates from high school, whichever is sooner.

Besides a child turning 18 or 19 years old, child support ends if one of the following circumstances is true:

  • The child gets married
  • The child joins the military
  • The child is emancipated before turning 18
  • The child passes away before he/she turns 18
  • The court ends the support or custody order

Exceptions for Child Support Age Limits

Another exception is when child support is for a special-needs child who cannot be financially or medically independent when he/she becomes an adult. Both parents must agree (in writing) who will be financially responsible for the child after he/she turns 18 years of age. A custodial parent may request additional support since a special-needs child may have foreseeable and recurring medical expenses, such as medications and therapies, as well as educational expenses.

Alas, child support can continue past a child’s 18th birthday, so long as they agree on a certain date or age and submit papers to the court. For example, parents can agree to support their child until he graduates college or turns 21 years old.

If you are dealing with a child support issue in Granite Bay or Placer County, contact Myers Family Law today at (916) 634-0067 and schedule a consultation. Get a Board-Certified Family Law Specialist on your side immediately!

Attorney Sandra Myers

Attorney Myers is a devoted and trusted family law attorney who understands the difficulties families experience during a divorce or legal separation case. She has more than 25 years of experience in the field of family law and is ready to fight on your behalf.