When Does Child Support End in California?

Parent with teen child

Child support covers a child’s basic needs (e.g., food, shelter, clothing, as well as education and medical expenses) and any other reasonable expenses after a divorce or legal separation. This monthly payment is generally paid to the custodial parent, with who the child primarily resides.

According to California family law, child support ends when a child turns 18 years old, which is considered the “age of majority.” From that date, child custody laws no longer apply.

However, there is an exception to this law when an 18-year-old child is still a full-time high school student. In such situations, child support ends when the child turns 19 or graduates from high school, whichever is sooner.

Besides a child turning 18 or 19 years old, child support ends if one of the following circumstances is true:

  • The child gets married
  • The child joins the military
  • The child is emancipated before turning 18
  • The child passes away before he/she turns 18
  • The court ends the support or custody order


Another exception is when child support is for a special-needs child who cannot be financially or medically independent when he/she becomes an adult. Both parents must agree (in writing) who will be financially responsible for the child after he/she turns 18 years of age. A custodial parent may request additional support since a special-needs child may have foreseeable and recurring medical expenses, such as medications and therapies, as well as educational expenses.

Alas, child support can continue past a child’s 18th birthday, so long as they agree on a certain date or age and submit papers to the court. For example, parents can agree to support their child until he graduates college or turns 21 years old.

If you are dealing with a child support issue in Placer or Sacramento County, contact Bez Law Firm, P.C. today at (916) 512-8944 and schedule a consultation. Get a Family Law Specialist on your side immediately!

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