When Does Child Support End in California?

In California and all 50 states, both parents are expected to financially support their children. Contrary to popular belief, child support orders are not only made in divorce cases. They are also issued in domestic violence cases, legal separations, paternity actions, domestic partnerships (parents who want to legally separate but not get divorced), and in cases where parents voluntarily signed a Declaration of Paternity and were never married.

“When does child support end in California?” Generally, child support ends when the child turns 18 or when he or she graduates from high school. If a child will be a full-time high school student and still living with one parent when they turn 18, then the child support will end when the teenager graduates high school or turns 19, whichever happens first.

“Are there any exceptions?” There are a few. In California, child support can also end when:

  • The child gets married,
  • The child registers in a domestic partnership,
  • The child joins the military,
  • The child is emancipated, or
  • The child dies.

How is Child Support Calculated?

In the vast majority of cases, the court orders a child support amount strictly based on the Child Support Guidelines. However, under specific circumstances, the parents can agree on a child support amount that is more or less than the amount indicated by the Child Support Guidelines.

California parents can agree on a different child support amount, one that deviates from the guidelines if they:

  • Know what the guideline amount would be.
  • Are not pressured to agree to this other amount.
  • Are not currently receiving public assistance.
  • Agree on a support amount that will provide for the children’s needs.
  • Feel that the agreed-upon amount is in the children’s best interests.
  • Get the judge to approve the proposed child support payments.

We hope this post clears up your questions about when child support in California ends. If you need legal representation in a divorce, child support, or other family law matter in San Diego, don’t hesitate to contact our firm for a free case evaluation.