When Can I Stop Paying Child Support?

In any divorce proceedings involving children, child support is a topic of negotiation that can cause a lot of stress and frustration for one or both parents.

After all, if you’re the one being ordered to pay child support, you could be facing many years of monthly payments depending on the age of your child at the time of your divorce. 

Because of this, one of the most common questions asked is – when can I stop paying child support?

When Does Child Support End?

In most states, including the state of New York, child support is required to be paid until the child reaches the age of 21 years old. The only time child support may end sooner that this is if the child becomes emancipated.

Emancipation can be requested by a child who is under 21 when they no longer live with their parents and can prove to the courts that they can support themselves. To qualify for emancipation, a child needs to be under 21 and one of the following:

  • Getting married
  • Joining the military
  • Graduating from 4 years of college
  • Working a full-time job to support themselves

If you’re a parent who will be making child support payments, it is important to know that there’s a difference between when child support is designed to end and when it can stop.

When Does Child Support Stop?

The court cannot order a parent to pay child support for a child once they reach 21 years of age, but that doesn’t necessarily mean that the child support automatically ends at that point. It is not uncommon for some parents to agree to continue making their child support payments until their child graduates from college. In these cases, child support payments can continue until the child is 22 years old or even older.

What Happens to My Child Support Responsibilities if My Income Changes?

The amount of child support paid by a parent is set by the court, but depending on certain circumstances, that amount can change over time. The state of New York allows for child support modifications to be made every three years if the parent undergoes changes in income or circumstances. 

The state also allows a parent to request a modification at any time when there is a change of 15% or more in theirs or the other parent’s income. For example, if you have custody of your child and your ex-spouse pays child support and they get a new job or a raise at work that significantly increases their salary, then you do not have to wait until the three-year mark to ask for a modification. Likewise, if you pay child support and you lose your job or are forced into a lower paying position, then you can request a modification to reduce your child support payment by the appropriate amount.

Mediation Can Help You Create a Child Support Agreement That Works for You Both

A skilled divorce mediator can be an invaluable resource for helping you and your ex-spouse come to agreeable child support terms. At Mediation Professionals of Long Island, our compassionate mediators can work with you and your ex-spouse to calmly and effectively create a child support plan that works for both of you, but especially for your child.

Contact us today by calling 646-992-7440 or click here to send us a message online. Let us help you achieve a calmer and healthier divorce and a fair child support agreement. 

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