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How long must a non-custodial parent pay child support?

When in the process of a divorce, depending on the financial needs of the custodial parent, there may be child support payments required of the non-custodial parent. These payments go towards typical cost of living expenses such as clothing, food, shelter and healthcare, as well as additional expenses necessary in raising a child such as extra-curricular activities, school expenses and even daycare. But, at what point does the obligation to pay child support end for the non-custodial parent?

There is no one answer, as the answer depends on the child's current situation. According to Missouri Revised Statutes Chapter 452 and Chapter 454, when the child turns 18 and has graduated high school but does not attend college, the child support payment ends. In addition, if the child dies, marries or enters active duty in the military, the child support payments end.

There are instances where the child support payments extend beyond when the child turns 18 and graduates college. These exceptions include a child who attends college, and a disabled child who, upon entering adulthood, still cannot support herself or himself.

Child support laws and regulations vary by state, so it is important to have a firm understanding of the expectations and obligations whether you are a custodial parent receiving child support payments, or a non-custodial parent required to pay child support payments. If you have any questions or concerns regarding the status of your child support payments or if your financial situation changes, it may be wise to seek support from a law professional familiar with divorce and child support for advice and possibly representation to have the child support payments legally changes, if necessary and appropriate.

Source: findlaw.com, "Missouri Child Support Guidelines," Accessed on Aug. 2, 2016

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Joseph J. Porzenski
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