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Understanding when a child support obligation ends

A common question asked by many of those bound to the terms of a child support obligation in Clinton Township is how long will they have to continue making their payments. Some may view the fact that they would even ask this question as evidence that such parents view paying child support as a burden. Yet that may not be the case at all; rather, they may simply want to ensure that they are fulfilling the purpose of such an arrangement, which is to ensure that their kids have adequate resources to meet their needs as opposed to being a punitive obligation. 

Per the National Conference of State Legislatures, Michigan law calls for support payments to end once a child reaches 18 years of age. As is the case with many matters related to divorce, however, there are certain exceptions to this rule. The law recognizes that that there are scenarios where children may reach a point of being able to support themselves prior to turning 18. These can include a child marrying before reaching the age of majority, joining the military, or becoming emancipated. 

Similarly, there are cases where the court may order that child support payments continue after the age of 18. According to Michigan's Compiled Laws, these are: 

  • If a child still working towards completing high school
  • If a child (through the custodial parent) has been receiving state assistance
  • If a child has physical or mental deficits that will require him or her to rely on dependent care even as an adult

In the first two of the aforementioned cases, the court will likely impose a criteria or deadline upon which a child support obligation will end. In the case of the third scenario, it may mandate that support payments continue indefinitely. 

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Lorrie J. Zahodnic

"I will hold you up until you can stand on your own two feet."

Lorrie J. Zahodnic, P.C. has provided skilled and compassionate legal guidance to Michiganders in family law matters for over 20 years.

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