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How long do I have to pay child support?

There is a bit of confusion about how long a non-custodial parent is required to pay support payments. Every state has different laws regarding child support. In New York, parents are considered financially responsible for their children until they reach 21 years of age.

Numerous parents expect their children to be pretty self-sufficient by the age of 21. However, there are reasons that children may still require financial support the first few years out of high school. At that age, not everyone is able to find employment that provides for all of their basic needs. There are also many young adults that are focusing on educational opportunities rather than work. While parents are not required to pay for higher education, until the age of 21 they may be held responsible to cover the necessities.

There are some exceptions to this, however. A non-custodial parent may stop paying child support if their child gets married before the age of 21. This is true, too, if a child is emancipated, joins the military or is self-supporting.

Supporting a child to the age of 21 may seem extreme to some, but there are reasons as to why it may be necessary. Of course, if one feels that his or her child fits the criteria for cutting off child support, requests can be made to end support payments. Taking this type of action may create conflict with a custodial parent, but non-custodial parents in New York do still have a right to seek to end child support. These individuals can seek legal assistance when needed to help them with this fight.

Source:, "Child Support", Jan. 6, 2016

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