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When Does Child Support Stop in New York?

Posted By Sharyn O'Mara || 4-Apr-2012

A question our attorneys are often asked is "When can I stop paying child support in New York?" or they are asked "When will my child support payments stop?"

Unless there is an agreement that states otherwise, in New York, child support must be paid until the child reaches the age of 21, assuming the child is still living at home with a parent, or attending college full time. That sometimes brings a follow up question "What happens if the young adult is still in college after they turn 21?" The answer remains the same in this situation: Unless the parents have pre-agreed to something different, child support stops at the age of 21. To cover this dilemma, it can be put in the legal separation or divorce agreement that child support will be paid for until the age of 22 (or whatever is agreed on) if the child is still in college full time. In addition to child support, both parties must contribute to the cost of college tuition. A "SUNY cap" is usually designated as the amount that the parents are obligated to contribute to, even if a child opts for a more expensive school. This is yet another incentive for students to stick with a four year college plan or they may find themselves with some more student loans than they had expected.

Of course, many parents still help their children out with college payments and support (and car payments, and cell phone bills, etc.) once their legal obligations ends, but this would be considered voluntary support. It would be helping to "support" a young adult son or daughter in a different way. Of course, children who are still in college or grad school are all for that.

Categories: child support