When does child support end in California?

Whether living together or living apart, parents are responsible for physically and financially taking care of their children. If the parents are divorced, however, they may not always agree on how much financial responsibility each parent will cover. When this occurs for those living in California, the parents will need to seek a child support order. However, parents may also wonder when does child support end in California.

Child support is essentially a payment made from one parent to the other to assist with any expenses for their children in the case of parents who are divorced. The amount that a court mandates for the parent to provide is known as child support. Child support is typically paid to the parent, who is the primary caregiver.

How the Court Determines Child Support

There are several factors that the court will look over to determine an amount for child support. They include:

  • The salaries of both parents
  • How both parents file taxes
  • The amount of time both parents spend with their children

Once the amount is decided upon, it is that parent’s responsibility to pay child support. Sometimes, the child support agreement can be changed or modified. However, in most circumstances, child support payments continue until the child turns 18. Below are some of the exceptions to this requirement.

When the Child Is Still in High School

Child support payments can still continue if your children are still in high school and living in the family home after turning 18. Payments will end once the child either graduates from high school or until the child turns 19.

While it is likely that the parents will continue to financially support their children after they move out of the home, it is not a legal requirement since they are over 18. However, a parent or parents may continue to support their children by assisting with college tuition, rent, or other living expenses even after the child moves out of the family home.

When Your Child Joins the Military

If your child decides to graduate early at the age of 17 and join the United States military, you are no longer required to pay child support. Your financial responsibilities end as the child is now a member of the military.

When Your Child Gets Married

Once a child decides to marry, California law sees that child as a legal adult. Because of this, the parents are no longer required to provide support once their child marries.

If Your Parental Rights Are Terminated

Legal parents of the children are the only ones required to provide child support. So, if your parental rights have been revoked by the court, your child support payments end. If you decide to give up your parental rights so that your children may be adopted, your financial responsibility to them also ends.

Giving up your parental rights is not a choice that you can make without the other parent’s permission. This is so that the parent cannot circumvent their financial responsibilities. Remember that this decision is permanent, so once your rights have been terminated, you will no longer have visitation or custody rights.

When a Child or Parent Dies

In the event that a child passes away, the child support payments end. Likewise, if a parent passes away, child support also ends. However, there may be cases when a parent’s estate may be required to continue to financially support the child.

When Your Child Has Special Needs

If your child has special needs, then you will be required to continue making child support payments well into their adulthood. The California Family Code declares that parents must provide for a child who is unable to make a living for themselves or doesn’t have a means of support.

This law gives the judge the ability to discern how much, if any, child support is necessary. It is the judge’s decision to determine how much and how long the payments are to be made.


Q: Do You Still Have to Pay Child Support if the Child Goes to College in California?

A: No, you do not have to pay child support if the child goes to college in California if the child is 18 or older. There is no legal requirement for the parent to continue to financially support their child once they have graduated from high school or have turned 18.

Q: How Do You Stop Child Support in California When a Child Turns 18?

A: In California, to stop child support when a child turns 18, you will need to file the required form of notice of an Income Withholding for Support. This form can either be found online on the California Courts website, or you can get a physical copy from a courthouse. Complete the form, then give a copy to the other parent, along with a Proof of Service, to confirm that you have notified the other parent.

Q: What Is the New Child Support Law in California for 2024?

A: The new child support law in California for 2024 is a full child support pass. This law means that any family that obtained CalWORKs benefits will also get pass-through payments. These payments are payments that were used as reimbursement for state assistance services and instead are being sent to those who are paying child support.

Q: Will an Ex Continue to Pay Child Support if I Make More Money in California?

A: If an ex makes less money than you do, they may still pay child support. If you have a significant increase in pay, you will need to make a modification to your child support agreement. In the state of California, after a modification is reviewed, the child support agreement may be changed by either 20% or $50.

Consult with a California Family Law Attorney

Parents are always responsible for providing and caring for their children. When the parents are divorced, it can be difficult for the two to agree on how to divide the financial responsibilities each parent will cover. To determine child support, it is suggested to consult with a lawyer. If you are in need of assistance with child support, contact the Law Offices of Patricia Rigdon.