Support for Children Over 18 – When do You Owe It? (2023)

Support for Children Over 18

In Louisiana, the obligation to pay support for children usually ends when they reach 18. There are important exceptions to this rule.

Your 18 year old continues to get child support if:

He or she is a “full-time” student in a “secondary school” in “good standing”.

The term “full time” is not defined. Different schools may have different definitions of “full time”. It’s important to check with the school’s administration.

(Video) Do You Have to Pay Child Support After Child Turns 18?

The term “secondary school” generally means schooling beyond elementary school. It includes trade and vocational schools. It may include home schooling if the person doing the schooling has complied with Louisiana law for home schools.

He or she is in good standing. The law does not define what “good standing” means. At least one court has decided that it means the child is making good grades.

If your child graduates after reaching age 18 but before reaching age 19, your support obligation ends on graduation day.

Regardless of whether he or she is in school, once your child is 19 years old, your obligation to support him or her ends.

Your 18 year old gets child support to age 22 if:

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He or she suffers from a “developmental disability”, as defined in R.S. 28:451.2, until he attains the age of twenty-two. To get support, the child must be a full-time student in a secondary school.

The definition of “developmental disability” is very complicated and includes many factors. For example, the condition must be “severe and chronic”. It must show itself before the child is age 22. It must probably continue indefinitely. It must greatly limit the child’s ability to care for him or herself, speak or understand words, make a living, and be independent.

If a child has a “developmental disability”, support ends at age twenty-two.

Your 18 year old still gets child support indefinitely if:

Before age 18, he or she became mentally or physically disabled.

(Video) Do I have to pay child support AND college expenses for my kids?

The disability is so severe that he or she is incapable of self-support.

He or she requires substantial care and personal supervision.

Note: The term “disability” does not include substance abuse or addiction.

If you have a child with a severe disability, your obligation to pay child support may continue indefinitely.

Your 18 year old still gets support if you have promised to pay it:

(Video) Do you have to pay child support for your adult child (over the age of 18)?

Sometimes, divorcing parents enter into agreements in which they promise to pay for a child’s expenses beyond age 18. For example, a divorced parent may agree to pay for tuition at a child’s college or vocational school. If you wish to enter into this kind of agreement, consider whether you want conditions attached to your payments. You may want to limit the schools the child attends and end payments if the child’s grade point average falls below a certain number.

The amount you pay may not go down even if one of your children is 18:

If there is a dollar amount per child, when the oldest child reaches 18 (or 19 if the conditions above apply), the award for that child ends automatically. However, if the judgment has one figure for both children (for example, $1,000/month for Dick and Jane), $1,000/month is payable for Jane even though Dick is 19! This kind of judgment is sometimes called an “in globo” award.

If you are paying an “in globo” award, you may have to go back to court to get the monthly payment reduced. If you’re making a lot more money at that point in time, it may not be much of a reduction. If you add in attorney’s fees and costs, you might be better off with the original “in globo” amount.

If you have two or more children, ask your lawyer if you should put a specific amount per child in the judgment. There may be situations in which one dollar amount for two children is best especially if you are the person paying.

(Video) What Happens if My Child Turns 18 But My Ex Still Owes Child Support?

Consult with a lawyer before you stop paying your child support. What you spend in a consultation fee may save you a trip back to the courthouse.


What happens to unpaid child support when the child turns 18 in Texas? ›

Usually, child support ends when the last child turns 18 or graduates from high school, whichever is later. If your child has a disability, it might last longer. Note: if you owe back child support (arrearages), payments will continue even after the child turns 18–until the debt plus interest is paid in full.

At what age does child support end in California? ›

Child support orders in California are legally enforceable until the child turns 18 years old, and parents are obligated to continue paying child support according to the terms of the order until the child's 18th birthday.

Do you still have to pay child support if the child goes to college in Texas? ›

No, Texas law does not require parents to pay for their child's college expenses as part of the child support obligation. Under Section 154.001 of the Texas Family Code, parents are only required to pay child support until the child reaches age 18 or graduates from high school.

How long is a parent legally responsible for a child in Texas? ›

(Learn more about Negligence and the Duty of Care.) Note that this part of the statute imposes liability on a parent regardless of the child's age, as long as he or she is a minor under the age of 18.

Do you still have to pay child support if the child goes to college? ›

Courts typically require child support payments to extend past the child's 18th birthday until they are 21 years old if they are still financially dependent on the parents and living at home. If the child is enrolled in college, child support can also extend until the child graduates from college.

Does child support arrears ever go away in Texas? ›

Unpaid or past-due child support creates a debt referred to as arrears. Arrears remain in place until paid, no matter when they accrued (while in jail or out of jail). Child support is set based on a percentage of the noncustodial parent's (NCP) net resources.

Who gets back child support after the child is 18 in California? ›

After the child turns 18, the parent owed back child support can still collect the arrears. If collected, the parent owed support receives the payments, not the adult child.

What happens to child support arrears when child turns 18 in California? ›

Unlike child support obligations, payments for child support arrears only terminate after the entire amount is paid. This means that you are obligated to pay child support arrearages even after your child turns 18 if you still have not provided full payment of past due support.

How do I stop paying child support in California? ›

Typically, to terminate or modify your child support arrangement, you will need to complete paperwork and submit it to the court for approval. You will have file a request for a hearing (Form-FL 300) and ask the court to end child support payments. After you file, the clerk will assign a court date.

Is there a statute of limitations on unpaid child support in Texas? ›

Texas Child Support Statute of Limitations

Under Texas law, the statute of limitations for seeking back child support when a court order is already in place is ten years from the child's 18th birthday. If a claim isn't filed by the deadline, then any recovery for back child support in Texas may be denied.

How does Texas handle unpaid child support? ›

The court may issue fines of up to $500 for every nonpayment. File liens against their assets. A Texas court could issue a jail sentence for up to six months for contempt of court due to unpaid child support. The court could order the other parent to pay your attorney and legal fees.

Does unpaid child support accrue interest in Texas? ›

Is interest added to back child support in Texas? Yes. The state charges 6 percent interest on unpaid child support. That means if a parent stops making payments or pays less than the required amount, they will owe more than the original court-ordered amount.

How far back can retroactive child support go in Texas? ›

Back child support in Texas is generally limited to a maximum of four years. What this means is if a non-custodial parent did not pay for five years, the custodial parent could only petition for four years of retroactive or back child support.


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