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How long may a parent be obligated to pay child support?

Being a parent in New York can be a lifetime job. Even after children move out, many still rely on their parents for love and support as well as financial resources. Even though the parent will always be a parent, there does come a time when the child becomes a legal adult and parents are no longer obligated to financially support them. This is true whether the parents of the child are married or divorced.

Divorced parents generally have court orders they must follow regarding their child. One is a custody order, which determines who will make decisions for the child and when each parent will have parenting time with the child. The other is a child support order, which states how much the non-custodial parent must pay the custodial parent for the child's financial needs.

Even though the non-custodial parent will always be the child's parent, that parent will not always have to pay child support. State law generally requires that the parents pay child support until the child reaches age 21. However, there are a few exceptions to this rule. The child support obligation ends if the child is under 21 and is married, in the military or self-supporting. Also, if the child is between the ages of 17 and 21 and permanently leaves the parent's home or refuses to follow the reasonable rules of the home, then the non-custodial parent's child support obligation may cease.

Many parents in New York are divorced. Most of these parents will have a child support order stating that one parent owes the other one money each month for the child's needs. These orders generally require a parent to pay child support until the child is 21, but there are exceptions to that rule that this post cannot guarantee. Overall, child support is a very important aspect of divorces and can be very complicated. Understanding the complications can be very valuable, and attorneys may be able to guide one through the process.

Source: New York City Bar, "Introductory Guide to the New York City Family Court" accessed on March 29, 2016

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