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.

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.

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.

Protect your loved ones. Start My Estate Plan

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. Start My Estate Plan
Indiana's Secondary Education Child Support Laws
 

References

Resources

Related articles

Kentucky State Laws on Child Support Collection

When parents separate or divorce, the parent who does not have primary custody of the children will be required to pay child support to the other. Child support reduces the financial burden on the parent who has custody of the child most of the time. In Kentucky, child support laws are set forth in Section 402 of the Kentucky Revised Statutes (KRS).

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.

How to Stop Child Support in Texas When a Child Turns 18

If you are making child support payments in Texas, the law generally requires you to do so until your child turns 18, which is the age that marks adulthood in the state, or when he graduates from high school -- whichever comes later. There are exceptions, however -- if your child is recognized as an adult before he turns 18 -- or if he is disabled and requires child support past age 18. The procedure for stopping support payments at the appropriate time is relatively straightforward.

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

Related articles

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 ...

How to Terminate Child Support in Arkansas

In Arkansas, certain events automatically end the obligation to pay child support, provided that your settlement ...

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 ...

New Mexico Child Support Regulations

In New Mexico, the amount of child support is determined based on the principle that a child should receive the same ...

Browse by category
Ready to Begin? GET STARTED