Serving Most Counties in the Metro Atlanta Area

Call Today Call Today for a Confidential Consultation (470) 308-5409
Douglasville Divorce Attorneys - 12461 Veterans Memorial Hwy Suite 470, Douglasville, GA 30134

At What Age Does Child Support End?

Get a Confidential Consultation
At What Age Does Child Support End?

Georgia child support laws require parents to provide financial assistance for their children. The state uses standard Child Support Guidelines to calculate the amount of support payments. Child support is based on income, but the judges deviate from the guidelines for mandatory and non-mandatory deviations.

Child support payments continue until the court order terminates the payments or the payments terminate according to the child support statutes. Parents can agree to continue child support payments after their legal obligation ends. Many parents continue to pay child support during college to assist their child in obtaining a college degree.

When Does Child Support End in Douglasville, GA?

When Does Child Support End in Douglasville, GA?

Georgia Code §19-6-15 states that child support continues until a child turns 18 years old. However, a judge can extend child support payments until the child reaches 20 years old or graduates high school, whichever comes first.

Additionally, child support can end before a child graduates high school or ages out if:

  • The child is legally emancipated
  • The child passes away
  • The parent obligated to pay child support payments dies
  • The parent paying child support obtains legal child custody
  • The legal custodian of the child dies

Judges may specify a different date to end child support or end it based on a specific event. Parents may agree to extend child support payments but cannot end them by agreement. Only the court can end child support payments for reasons other than those allowed by statute.

If a child has a disabling condition, the court may order parents to continue child support payments into adulthood. Each case is judged by the specific facts of the case. If your child is disabled, talk with a Georgia child support lawyer about your options.

Penalties for Failing To Pay Child Support Payments in Georgia

If a parent stops paying child support, the state can take one or more actions to collect child support arrears. Penalties the court may impose for failing to pay child support payments include jail time and fines. However, the state can also take other actions to collect back child support, including:

  • Seizing your state and federal income tax refunds
  • Garnishing your wages
  • Filing a lien to seize workers’ comp settlements, property, and bank accounts
  • Take lottery winnings over $2,500
  • Withhold unemployment and workers’ comp benefits

In addition to seizing funds, the state can revoke or suspend your driver’s, hunting/fishing, and professional licenses. It can also report the child support arrearage to the credit bureaus and revoke your passport. 

Further, filing bankruptcy does not wipe away child support payments. Even though you receive a bankruptcy discharge, you would still owe the back child support payments.

Can I Stop Allowing Visitation if My Ex Stops Paying Child Support Payments?

It is a common misconception that visitation is tied to child support. In reality, they are two separate issues. You cannot deny visitation if your ex stops paying child support. Denying court-ordered visitation could result in one or more penalties.

Instead, you must take steps to enforce the child support obligations. An attorney can help you file a petition with the court asking that your ex be held in contempt of court for failing to pay child support.

What Happens if I Cannot Afford To Pay My Child Support Payments in Douglasville, GA?

Contact a Douglasville child support lawyer immediately if you cannot make your child support payments. Failing to pay child support for any reason could result in one or more of the consequences discussed above. You might be able to have your child support obligation modified to lower the amount you pay each month.

An attorney can prepare and file a motion to modify child support with the court. You must prove that a substantial change in circumstances justifies modifying the existing child support order.

Examples of circumstances that could result in modification of child support payments include, but are not limited to:

  • You are fired from your job through no fault of your own and have been unable to find employment after a good-faith job search
  • The number of children being supported in the family decreases or increases
  • You or the other parent begins earning substantially more money
  • You are forced to accept a job making substantially less money
  • You become disabled because of an accident, illness, or injury
  • The custody arrangement changes so that you have your child for more overnight visits
  • Your child develops educational or medical needs that cost substantially more than anticipated in the current child support order

Modifications of child support are not retroactive. Therefore, do not wait to seek legal advice if you cannot pay your child support payments. The court will not forgive the amount you owe for child support. When you fall behind, it can be difficult to catch up with past-due child support payments.

Who Pays Child Support Payments in Douglasville, GA?

Each parent is responsible for a portion of the child support obligation. Each parent pays a portion of the child support amount based on their percentage of income. Typically, the high-earning parent pays child support to the other parent, but that might not always be the case. If the higher-earning parent has primary custody of the child, the other parent may pay child support to that parent.

Even when parents have a 50/50 custody arrangement, one parent typically pays child support because the child primarily lives with one parent. The parent that has the child most of the time is the custodial parent. Having a primary residence provides stability and continuity for the child.

Call Our Douglasville Child Support Lawyers for Help

Your child support obligations should be fair, according to the Georgia child support guidelines and the circumstances of your case. Judges sometimes deviate from the guidelines, but the amount should still be fair.

If you have questions about child support, call our office for a consultation with our Douglasville child support attorneys at (470) 308-5409. Our legal team at Bardley McKnight Law Divorce Lawyers LLC, will fiercely fight to protect your interests.

Visit Us Today

Get a confidential consultation.
No obligations.

Call Now Button