When Does Child Support End in Washington State?

The purpose of child support is to maintain your child’s standard of living and cover their daily living expenses, regardless of which parent they are staying with. However, at a certain point child support ends, but it does not always terminate when a parent thinks it does.

At the Hodgson Law Office in Spokane, our experienced divorce and family law attorneys can provide top-tier legal advice on your child support matter. To learn more and to schedule a case consultation, call or contact our office today.

Washington State Child Support Ending at 18 Years Old

Most parents assume that child support ends at eighteen years old, and this is the case if the child has graduated from high school by their eighteenth birthday. However, if the child has not graduated or qualifies in another way, child support may continue past this milestone event.

Washington State Child Support Ending before 18 Years Old

There are also circumstances when a parent’s child support obligation may end prior to a child’s eighteenth birthday. If the child gets married prior to their eighteenth birthday or becomes emancipated as a minor, the parent’s obligation to pay child support ends as they are no longer financially obligated to care for the child at that point. Child support also ends prior to the eighteenth birthday if the child dies due to an accident, illness, or another injury.

Washington State Child Support Ending after 18 Years Old

There are also situations where child support extends beyond a child’s eighteenth birthday. If the child turns 18 years old prior to graduating from high school, child support continues until their graduation day. Child support also continues if the child is deemed mentally or physically disabled and is in need of continued financial support from their parents beyond their 18th birthday. This situation is typically addressed in a divorce settlement between the parents, but if the disability occurs after the divorce the issue may need to be addressed in court.

Child support can also continue throughout the child’s college experience as post-secondary educational support. This can occur if the parents would be responsible for the child’s educational expenses after high school, including the child’s tuition, housing, books, and other supplies. This can be stipulated in the parents’ divorce settlement or petitioned for after the fact. The judge considers the child’s age, needs, the type of postsecondary education desired, the parent’s financial situation, and the type of support that the child would have received if the parents remained together when determining if post-secondary educational support is appropriate. This type of support can last until the child has finished their post-secondary education or turns 23 years old, whichever comes first. To learn more about when child support in your situation ends, talk to our office today.

Contact the Hodgson Law Office Now

It is important to speak with an experienced family law attorney before stopping child support payments in Washington, or else you run the risk of accidentally falling behind in payments when you thought that they were over. To learn more, call or contact the Hodgson Law Office today to schedule a case consultation.