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How Long Do You Have to Pay Child Support in Pennsylvania?


In Pennsylvania, parents have a financial obligation to support their children, regardless of the relationship a parent has with their child and even in the event of divorce. Even in cases where when one parent chooses to not spend time with their children, or is prevented by Court Order from doing so, a parent’s obligation to pay child support continues. In most instances, the non-custodial parent is the one that is required to pay support to help cover the daily expenses of the child, along with additional expenses such as extra-curricular activities, healthcare costs, and more.

However, even in a shared custody scenario, if one parent earns more than the other, the court may require the higher earning parent to pay child support.

However, while this is the law in Pennsylvania, parents often wonder how long their child support responsibilities will last. So, if you are paying child support, how long do you have to pay it?

Support for Minor Children

In Pennsylvania, parents are expected to provide financial support to any minor children. Each parent has partial responsibility for providing this support, and both parents must provide it until the child turns 18 years of age, or until he or she graduates from high school, whichever is later. For example, if a child turns 18 during their last year of high school, parents are expected to pay child support until the day of the child’s high school graduation.

The amount of child support a parent will have to pay varies based on a number of different factors. The judge will consider the income of each parent, as well as his or her expenses, how much time each parent spends with the children, and any additional costs the parents will incur when caring for their children.

Paying Child Support Into Adulthood

In most cases in Pennsylvania, parents only have to pay child support until the child is 18 or graduates from high school. Unlike other states, parents are not expected to provide support or pay tuition and other school-related costs once the child is in post-secondary education. However, there are instances in which parents are expected to continue paying support once the child reaches adulthood.

When a child is disabled and unable to earn an income and provide for him or herself after he or she  turns 18, it is not uncommon for child support obligations to continue. In these cases, child support orders are typically reevaluated prior to the child’s 18th birthday. In these instances, if the child must live in an assisted living facility, parents often pay the facility directly instead of paying the custodial parent, as is often the case when the child is still considered a minor.

Our Pennsylvania and New Jersey Child Support Lawyer Can Answer Your Child Support Questions

Child support is never a clear-cut case during any divorce. If you have questions about whether you will be required to pay support, or for how long, our Philadelphia child support lawyer at the Law Offices of Lauren H. Kane can answer them. Call us today at (215) 918-9453 or contact us online to schedule a consultation and to learn how we can help with your original child support order, or obtain a modification from the court.

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