Fulfilling Overdue Child Support Obligations After Your Children Reach Adulthood
When people who have children together get divorced, there is always some possibility of your ex-spouse finding ways to get under your skin for the rest of your life. Once your children turn 18, your ex-spouse cannot interfere in your financial decisions, but when you see the Christmas presents that your ex and your ex’s new spouse give your grandchildren, you can’t help but feel that they chose the gifts they chose just to get on your nerves. (For example, you may have banned princess iconography from your daughter’s childhood only to find that your ex gave your granddaughter a Disney princess baby blanket.) You might, however, know someone who is still paying off child support debt long after their children have reached adulthood. The best way to avoid this problem is to contact a Boca Raton child support lawyer as soon as the court orders you to pay more than you can or as soon as you experience an adverse change in financial circumstances.
Child Support Obligations End on the Child’s 18th Birthday, Except When They Don’t
Unless the child support order specifies otherwise, the child support obligations end when the first of the following events occurs:
- The child turns 18, having graduated from high school
- The child graduates from high school, having already turned 18
- The child turns 19 without having graduated from high school
If, when your children become ineligible to receive further child support payments (either because of one of the aforementioned events or because of other circumstances mentioned in your child support order), you still have not paid all your past-due child support, you still remain obligated to pay that amount to your ex-spouse. Not even declaring bankruptcy will make the obligation disappear.
The only way to get out of paying is to modify your child support obligations. To do this, you must persuade the court that the amount the court ordered you to pay is unfair and incorrect, either because the court incorrectly estimated your ability to pay or your ex-spouse’s financial needs or because, even though you were originally able to pay, you have experienced a reduction in income such that you can no longer meet the obligations stated in your divorce decree or marital settlement agreement. As Bradley and Andrea’s case shows, it is possible to modify your child support obligations even after your children are already grown up. In other words, it is worthwhile to hire a child support lawyer even if all parties agree that you owe unpaid child support, but you and your ex-spouse disagree about how much you will have to pay to make your child support obligations disappear.
Reach Out to Us Today
A child support lawyer can help you find your way out from under an unbearable burden of unpaid child support, even if your children are already grown up and it is just a matter of no longer being financially obligated to your ex-spouse. Contact Schwartz | White for a consultation today.