Child Support Obligations after a Child Turns 18

Child Support Obligations after a Child Turns 18

While in most circumstances when a child reaches the age of 18, new laws go into effect to govern the now-adult’s life. With the age of adulthood, many criminal offenses become more serious and new legal freedoms or rights are available to the youth. However, things are not so cut and dry when it comes to a parent’s child support obligation once a child turns 18 years of age. In South Carolina, there are several circumstances under which a parent’s child support obligation can last for years after a child turns 18.

Circumstances Where Child Support Obligations Carry On

As a general rule, parents no longer need to provide child support once their son or daughter reaches the age of 18. However, there are several circumstances under which a child support obligation can go on for a long time afterward. These circumstances include:

  • Child is 18 or older but is still in high school. In situations where a child has reached the age of 18 but has not yet graduated from high school, a parent’s child support obligation continues until the child graduates from high school, or until the end of the school year once the child turns 19 years old.
  • Child goes to college. Many children go off to college once they graduate high school, which can be terribly expensive for a student who has little or no income while going to school. As such, a parent’s child support obligation could continue while the child is attending college. The decision to extend the parent’s child support obligation is at the discretion of the court.
  • Child has a disability. There are some children who have a disability, either mental or physical, who will not be capable of adequately providing for themselves financially, even after reaching the age of 18. In most cases, so long as the disability continues, a parent’s child support obligation will carry on.

What if the Obligation is Too Much to Handle?

In most situations, parents can look forward to when their child reaches the age of 18 or graduates from high school because their child support obligation terminates. But for those child support paying parents who are locked in for longer, the added financial burden might be too much. When a parent has a child support obligation that is too much to bear, the parent can ask the court for a child support modification.

There may be circumstances that necessitate a modification of a parent’s child support obligation. For instance, the parent might suffer a loss of their job or could have been involved in an accident that has left him or her with significant medical debts. Parents who have encountered a significant change in their circumstances need to consult with a family law attorney as soon as possible.

Get Child Support Help Today

If you have questions or concerns about child support obligations or child support modifications, you should speak with an experienced family law lawyer. Contact the Mount Pleasant family law attorneys at Klok Law Firm LLC today for a free consultation.