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Does Child Support Automatically End at Age 21?

In New York, orders requiring the payment of child support typically terminate at age 21, unless the parties have specifically agreed, in a written stipulation, that child support would continue beyond age 21. But does the child support obligation automatically end, or is it necessary to go to court? The answer to this question depends on a few things.

Do I Need to Take Action?

If child support is being paid directly, by one party to the other, then the payer can simply stop making the payments upon the child's 21st birthday, as long as there is no child support arrears, or "past due" child support. If so, the payment should continue until the arrears are fully satisfied. No court intervention would be necessary.

Why Would I Need to Go to Court?

If child support is being paid through New York State's Child Support Enforcement Bureau ("CSEB"), it will likely be necessary to go to court to seek an order terminating the order of child support. The CSEB will continue to expect payment until they have an order from the court that says otherwise. The problem is that the termination of support does not happen immediately. A petition or motion should be filed soon before the 21st birthday, with the hope of getting an order from the court before too long so that CSEB can terminate the order of support in a timely manner and returns to the payer any funds collected after the 21st birthday.

If child support is being paid through wage garnishment or income execution (i.e. the support payments are being withheld by your employer from your paycheck), it will be necessary to go to court to seek an order terminating the wage garnishment or income execution. Without an order, your employer will continue to withhold money from your paycheck and remit it to the payee or CSEB.

If you are paying child support for one or more children, and you have a child approaching their 21st birthday, do not wait before seeking a consultation with an experienced matrimonial attorney. A delay in obtaining an order terminating support could cost you additional child support you were not obligated to pay, and once paid, it can be difficult to get it back.

If you find yourself with child support complications or if you need the court to halt your child support payments, the attorneys at Wisselman, Harounian & Associates can help. Don't hesitate to contact our firm with your case right away.

Call Wisselman, Harounian & Associates today at (516) 406-8500 to speak with an attorney about your potential case.

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