Most people believe that when a child turns 18, they can stop paying child support. The laws regarding child support vary in each state. Graduation and ending child support may not go hand in hand. Some states provide that in divorce actions, the courts may order the paying parent to continue child support until the age of 21. Most require support payments to continue until the child has graduated from high school and in some cases, the child may be over the age of 18.
Lump Sum Child Support
Child support differs from spousal support. In many states, a waiver of the right to seek a modification of alimony is legally enforceable. On the other hand, a waiver of the right to seek a modification of child support is not, even if the waiver was given in exchange for a lump sum child support payment amount. Even if the parents enter into a binding contract regarding a lump sum child support payment, a judge can choose to enforce or not to enforce a child support agreement.
Ending Spousal Support
Ending spousal support payments is often a bargaining chip used when going through a divorce. Payors of spousal support may want a cut-off date to limit their exposure. Recipients may choose to agree for the right price in the form of a lump sum, increased payments until the cut-off or try to bargain for additional property. If the marriage was lengthy, payors often feel that negotiating is the only way of ending spousal support payments.
Getting Legal Advice
When you have questions regarding spousal and child support payments, you should consult with an attorney who specializes in family and child support law. Each case is unique and the laws in each state may vary considerably.