When do child support payments end?

When do child support payments end?  Do I have to do anything once my child turns 18 to stop the payments?

Technically support orders do not terminate automatically and a person paying child support was required to file a petition to terminate a child support order once the child is emancipated.  Subdivision (e) of Rule 1910.19 was implemented to prevent overpayments and to give parties notice.  Now, within the six months before the child turns 18, the court will issue an emancipation inquiry and notice to the obligee and a copy to the obligor asking certain questions to see whether the order shall remain in effect after the child turns 18 or graduates from high school (whichever is later). If there is no response after 30 days, the domestic relations section can administratively modify or terminate an order.

If you are receiving child support, you should complete and return the inquiry especially if there is a reason that the child should continue to receive support beyond age 18 or graduating high school.  If you do not return the notice, the domestic relations section may modify or terminate the order without further proceedings.  If there are other children on the court order, there may be a conference.

Three reasons why child support may continue even after the child reaches 18:

  1. The child has special needs.
  2. There is an agreement between the parties that requires support beyond age 18 or after the child has graduated from high school.
  3. There are arrears.

Arrears.  If the person paying child support owes arrears, the arrears continue to accrue through the date of the termination.  The domestic relations section may continue to have child support deducted in the amount of the original order to cover the arrears.  In this situation, the arrears will be paid off faster.

If you object to paying support for your child beyond age 18 or their graduation from high school, you may request a hearing.

If you have questions about child support, contact us for a free telephone consultation.  You may also consult Pennsylvania Rule 1910.19.