I pay child support for my 18-year-old son who heads off to college this summer on a full scholarship eliminating any financial burden to either parent.
How likely is the court to consider this a “substantial and continuing change in circumstances” for modification of child support?
Since I am only licensed to practice law in Wisconsin, I can only provide you with general divorce help for men to your child support laws question.
Child support orders generally stay in effect until the minor child(ren) reaches the age of emancipation, usually 18 or 19 if the child is still pursuing a high school degree or its equivalent.
Generally, child support terminates upon the occurrence of one of those two events. Usually, a party need only inform the Court that the child has reached the age of majority or completed high school to terminate the support order.
Though it varies by state, child support usually stays in effect until the child reaches the age of emancipation or one of the following events occurs:
1. Child is mentally/physically disabled and the court or child support enforcement orders support beyond the emancipation age.
2. If child is still in high school or similar program, support continues until end of the month following graduation. There is also a specific law on quitting and then re-enrolling in high school.
3. If the child marries.
4. If the child is in the military.
Your child’s attendance in college and his self-support may be considered a substantial and continuing change in circumstances if the mother is no longer incurring any of the costs for the child. You could argue that child support should decrease but you should also weigh the costs of modification.
If your child is close to turning 19 years old, the costs may outweigh any potential modification in support. On the other hand, if your payments are significant than the costs may not be a deterrent.
Either way, you are better off filing for modification sooner rather than later and I recommend consulting with a family law attorney before proceeding.
Remember, I am unable to provide you with anything more than divorce tips for men, so please consult with a divorce lawyer in your jurisdiction.