How Long Does Child Support Last?

If there are child custody orders provided by the Court, a child support order is just around the corner. I am frequently asked when does the child support obligation go away? The quick default answer to that falls under the Colorado Revised Statutes at the age of 19, however that’s not necessarily always the answer.

Child Support Obligation Default

A child support obligation, under the statute, C.R.S. 14-10-115 lasts until the minor child emancipates. Actual emancipation is a common misperception. Emancipation occurs when a child turns 19 years of age, not 18. Let’s face it, what 18 year old is truly considered an adult? Now of course there are exceptions to the 19 year-old emancipation rule. C.R.S. 14-10-115(13) maps it out; here they are:

  1. The parties agree otherwise in a written stipulation;
  2. If the child is mentally or physically disabled, the court may order child support to include medical expenses and/or health insurance to continue beyond the age of 19;
  3. If the child is still in high school or an equivalent program, support continues until the end of the month following graduation;
  4. If the child marries, the child shall be considered emancipated as of the date of the marriage; and
  5. If the child enters into active military duty.

Agreements to Child Support

The most common exception to the child support obligation duration is if the parties create an agreement. These agreements can be rather specific. Obligations duration can last for any bargained time frame. Keep in mind even if you are in agreement, the Court must still find that your agreement is in the best interest of the children. Don’t expect to get an agreement for child support to last an additional 20 years! Keep it reasonable. That being said getting an agreement to extend the period of a child support obligation beyond 19 years of age, is generally difficult. That is because the other party who disagrees generally can fall back on the statute. The Judge will never make a ruling regarding child support obligation duration that alters the default. There must be agreement.

College Education

Negotiating college education falls under the child support obligation statute. Parents are much more willing to negotiate and discuss payment of college education rather than ongoing child support. Again, this is one of those special occasions that the Court will permit so long as there are agreements between the parties.

Questions About Your child Support?

Have questions about your child support obligation? Give us a call for your consultaiton to find out about how your child support obligation is currently set up, if you need to modify child support, or if you need help with putting a child support obligation in place. We are happy to help you out, give us a call at (719) 421-7141.

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