“Does child support end when a child turns 18 and heads off to college
in Pennsylvania?” Unless there is a written agreement stating otherwise,
or the child is physically or mentally disabled, a parent’s requirement
to pay child support terminates when their son or daughter turns 18, or
graduates high school, whichever happens later.
“But, what if my child is in college, am I required to pay child
support while they live with my ex and go to college?” Barring an
agreement that says you’ll support your child through college, your
obligation to pay child support ends when your child turns 18
and has graduated high school.
Are you legally required to pay for college? Paying for your child’s
college tuition is
strictly voluntarily unless you agree to pay it in the written marital settlement agreement.
If you’re getting a divorce and your spouse is asking you to pay
for your child’s college education, you’ll have to decide
if it’s something you want to do, and if you want to put that promise
If you want to pay your child’s college tuition and the agreement
is put in writing, it becomes a legally enforceable agreement. Meaning,
if you fail to pay the tuition as promised, your ex can take you to court
and get a judge to order you to pay it. You can look at it as a “contract.”
Does Child Support End Automatically?
People often ask, “Does
child support automatically end when my child turns 18?” As we mentioned earlier,
child support in Pennsylvania ends when a child turns 18 or graduates
high school, whichever happens later.
If a parent voluntarily paid child support after it was “supposed
to” end; for example, on the date the child graduated high school,
the paying parent cannot obtain a reimbursement for overpaid child support.
It’s up to the paying parent to modify the standing court order,
even though the courts will often do so automatically; parents just can’t
rely on the overburdened courts to terminate child support payments on
time. If paying parents don’t want to overpay beyond the termination
date, they’re better off filing a motion to modify the child support
shortly before it’s set to end.
If you’re looking for a Pennsylvania
no-fault divorce lawyer,
contact Cairns Law Offices to learn about our
low-cost divorce services