When Does a Child Support Obligation End?

Many issues in family law revolve around marriage and divorce, and the legal and financial relationships between two spouses or ex-spouses. Child support is different in that it involves only a parent’s financial obligations toward their child. Under Kentucky law, every parent has a legal duty to provide for their child’s reasonable needs. The parents can be married, divorced or never married to each other, but that legal duty remains.

There is a lot of room for negotiation in most areas of family law, but the parameters of child support are much more strict. Kentucky law holds that both parents have financial obligations toward their children, and requires every noncustodial parent to make regular child support payments, so as to fulfill their financial obligations to their children. The exact amount of each payment is based on the child’s needs and the parent’s ability to pay. The child’s needs include not only food, clothing, housing and educational costs, but also health insurance.

The duration of a child support order is also set strictly by state law. The child support obligation continues until the child’s 18th birthday, or 19th birthday, if they are still in high school at age 18. There are limited circumstances in which the obligation may last longer.

Since the child support payment amount is tied to the paying parent’s income, many parents run into trouble after they lose a job or suffer another financial setback. It is important to request a modification to a child support order as soon as possible after suffering a loss in income.