How Soon Before Graduation Can You Terminate Child Support in Pennsylvania?

By Kelly Mroz

In Pennsylvania, parents are not required to pay for their children's college educations. As a result, high school graduation often marks the end of child support payments, but it depends on the child's age. The duty to pay child support in Pennsylvania ends when a child reaches age 18 or graduates from high school, whichever occurs last.

In Pennsylvania, parents are not required to pay for their children's college educations. As a result, high school graduation often marks the end of child support payments, but it depends on the child's age. The duty to pay child support in Pennsylvania ends when a child reaches age 18 or graduates from high school, whichever occurs last.

Emancipation

When your child is both 18 years of age and has graduated from high school, you no longer have a duty to support her. This is sometimes called emancipation. If she is 17 years old when she graduates, then you can terminate the order when she turns 18. If she turns 18 before high school graduation, then her graduation date is the date child support ends.

Protect your loved ones by a legally binding will. Make a Will Online Now

Modification

The Domestic Relations Section, also called DRS, is the office that handles the processing, collection and administrative modification of child support orders. Each Pennsylvania county has a DRS office. To ensure that the order is terminated on time, several months prior to your child's emancipation, file a Petition for Modification of an Existing Support Order with the DRS office in the county where the order was entered. You will find the name of the county at the top of the child support order you received.

Overpayment

Filing the petition a few months in advance will allow time for the scheduling of a conference, if one is required, before the child support obligation ends. Filing early is also helpful because you might be ahead on payments. If DRS knows that termination of the order is coming up, it will try to make sure you are not owed money when the order ends. However, if an overpayment exists when the order is terminated, you may petition DRS for reimbursement within a year of the termination date.

Administration

Even if you do nothing, DRS monitors its files and sends out an Emancipation Inquiry before the child turns 18, asking the custodial parent to confirm the child will be turning 18 and to provide the date on which the child will graduate from high school. If the parent agrees or doesn't respond and there are no other children attached to the order, the office may administratively terminate the order when the child emancipates. If either parent disagrees or other children remain on the order, DRS may schedule a conference instead. Be aware that if there are other minor children on the order who are not yet emancipated, the support amount might not change much because of the way support is calculated.

Contractual Obligations

While Pennsylvania does not impose college support on parents, parents can impose it on themselves. If parents contractually agree to a longer duty of support, the courts will enforce it. For example, if you signed a marital settlement agreement in which you agreed to support a child through college, the order will not terminate at high school graduation, but continue until the agreed upon time.

Protect your loved ones by a legally binding will. Make a Will Online Now
Does Child Support Automatically Stop When a Child Turns 18 in Maryland?

References

Resources

Related articles

When Can Child Support Be Terminated in Kentucky?

In Kentucky, child support usually terminates when a child reaches the age of majority, which under Kentucky law, occurs when the child reaches age 18, unless he is still in high school or is handicapped. Usually, child support obligations ordered by a Kentucky court terminate automatically when the child reaches age 18 and graduates from high school. However, there are some exceptions to this general rule in which additional circumstances or court intervention must take place before a parent can legally stop paying child support.

How To Stop Alaska Child Support for My Daughter, Who Turned 18

In a perfect world, you could simply stop writing checks for child support when your child emancipates and reaches the age of majority. Alaska law makes it almost this easy. Depending on whether you're supporting more than one child and whether your ex-spouse objects, you might be able to terminate your support obligation through written notification to the state's Child Support Services Division, or you may not have to do anything at all.

California Family Laws on Terminating Child Support

Both parents have a responsibility to provide for the financial needs of their minor children in California. When one parent asks for a child support order, the judge reviews the family's financial information and determines the amount the other parent must pay. The presumed father can terminate his obligation to pay child support by disproving paternity, and either parent can seek a modification based on changed circumstances. If not otherwise terminated, the child support obligation lasts until the child is emancipated.

LegalZoom. Legal help is here. Start Here. Wills. Trusts. Attorney help.

Related articles

Can You Get Child Support Stopped at 18 if a Child Is in Secondary School?

Most states agree that your child has the right to finish secondary school without worrying about supporting himself ...

How to Change Child Support When a Child Comes of Age in Texas

Whether your child support order was part of a divorce decree or entered separately, child support doesn’t go on ...

Child Support Laws for Non-Minors in Texas

If you're facing divorce and you have grown children, the court probably will not order you to pay child support on ...

Does Child Support End When the Child Graduates From High School?

Graduation from high school may or may not end your obligation to pay child support. It depends on two main factors, ...

Browse by category