Does child support last through college?

To know Does child support last through college….Read on this article….!

If a married couple separates, the court orders the noncustodial parent of the child to directly pay a certain amount of his or her income to the custodial parent as monthly child support for the financial needs and resources of the child. Child support is provided only for a biological child and not for the stepchild. If there are more than one child, child support payments are adjusted when one of the children reaches the age of majority.

Does child support last through college?

In general, parents are not obligated to pay child support after their child attains the age of majority (i.e., turns 18), graduates from college, dies or marries. However, there are a few exceptions.

Extending Child Support

The following are the cases when parents’ responsibility to provide child support can extend post-high school or the age of majority:

  1. Parents Contractual Agreement

If divorced/separated parents of the child contractually agree to continue providing the child support beyond high school, the child support can be extended. This agreement can be made during the divorce process or later when the child hits the age of majority. The parents can also decide how much one is willing to contribute toward their child’s expenses while signing the agreement.

  1. The Child Is Differently-Abled

If a child is differently-abled (mentally/physically),  both parents (custodial or non-custodial) of the child are obligated to provide child support for their adult child. A differently-abled is defined as a condition that limits one or two of the daily life activities of a child, he can not earn a living and may remain dependent on their parents.

A differently-abled adult’s child support is decided by either the state’s child support guidelines or the parent’s income. The obligation to provide child support for differently-abled children terminates when the child or parents die.

  1. College Expenses

As college tuition fees increase, paying for a child’s college expenses is a matter of concern. Some states view it as an essential concern because the parent’s divorce should not compromise a child’s education. On the other hand, some states view it as conditional expenses, while some states (i.e. New Jersey) obligate both parents to pay for a child’s college expenses if they have the means and resources.

How Child Support/College Expenses Get Determined By A Court?

Here are just a few of the many factors that a court considers while determining the child support/college expenses:

  •  Monthly income of custodial and noncustodial parents
  • Cost of child’s medical insurance
  • Financial resources of the child (Scholarship, financial aid, etc)
  • Child’s academic performance.
  • Child’s living standards before marriage (To make sure parent’s divorce does not affect child’s life) 
  • Needs of the child (child is young, school going, differently-abled, etc.)

States Where Child Support Does not Last Through College

In the following states, child support ends when the child reaches the age of 18 (Alabama, Alaska, Arizona, Arkansas, California, Colorado, Delaware, District of Columbia, Florida, Idaho, Indiana, Kansas, Kentucky, Louisiana, Maine, Maryland, Michigan, and more). If the child is differently abled or is still enrolled in high school, child support can be extended beyond the age of majority.

As far as the college expenses are concerned, the court can not obligate parents to pay for the child’s college expenses. This decision is made by the mutual agreement of the parents.

States Where Child Support Can Last Through College

In Georgia, Hawaii, Illinois, Iowa, Missouri, Oregon, South Carolina, Vermont, Connecticut, and Massachusetts, child support terminates when the child reaches the age of majority. However, suppose the court determines that parents have the means and resources to provide for a child’s college expenses. In that case, the court can obligate parents to contribute to the child’s college expenses. The reader is suggested to do legal research about his state’s child support laws.

Age Of Majority

The age of majority is the legally determined chronological age at which a person is considered an adult or a minor, with all of the legal rights and responsibilities that entail the right to vote, join the military, or sign a contract. When a child reaches the age of majority, he becomes fully responsible for his actions, and parental responsibilities to provide child support also terminate. States law decides the age of majority, so for every state, it is different.

The age of majority in most states is 18. However, this is not the case with some of the states. For example, in Alabama and Nebraska, the majority age is 19, while in Mississippi it is 21.

The Child Support Agreement

The child support agreement is used by divorced or separated couples/parents to make a contract of who will be responsible for the child’s expenses or how much one is willing to contribute to meet the expenses of the child. This agreement doesn’t require the enrollment of a court/judge. In most states, the child agreement includes expenses for the child’s housing, clothing, schooling, and food.

In general, a child support agreement is made during the process of the parent’s divorce but in cases when the agreement is not made at that time, the agreement is made later.

In general, the matter of educational expenses of a child is addressed during the parent’s divorce process. However, if no agreement is reached, the state decides on child support. Furthermore, the continuation of child support after the age of majority differs by state.


The child support obligations do end when a child reaches the age of majority, however, it does not terminate officially. So to terminate child support officially, the parent paying child support must request for the obligations to be terminated by the court. If parents contractually agree to provide for the child’s college expenses beyond high school, the child support extends till the child completes his education.