After going through a divorce, a court may order you to provide support payments to ensure your children are adequately cared for financially. Obviously, the payments can’t go on forever as your kids grow up and become self-sufficient, but they may not end when you expect.
When Child Support Orders Can End in New York
Although your child technically becomes an adult at 18, the legal requirement to pay support often continues past that point. Under New York law, a non-custodial parent’s obligation to make payments stops on the child’s 21st birthday, unless other arrangements were made at the time of the divorce.
It’s important to keep in mind that the responsibility to make payments until age 21 remains in place even if you don’t have visitation rights. There are times when your obligation can end early, however, such as when the child:
- Becomes self-supporting
- Joins the military
- Voluntarily leaves home between the ages of 17 and 20 and refuses to obey reasonable parental commands
What If I Need to Change an Agreement or Stop Paying Child Support?
When any of these events occur, or if you have a substantial change to your financial situation and can’t afford to keep paying, an attorney can assist you in filing an objection to the existing child support order.
To avoid legal problems, remember to keep paying the existing order amount until the court orders otherwise. Don’t ever modify your payments or stop paying under the assumption a requested change will be accepted.
On the opposite side of the divorce equation, if the non-custodial parent has stopped paying child support, an attorney can help you file a violation petition. The court may garnish your ex-spouse's wages, order a lump sum to be paid, or in extreme cases even have the non-custodial parent jailed for up to six months.
Talk to an Attorney Before Making Any Child Support Changes
If you have any questions about child support or think a change needs to be made, talk to a New York divorce lawyer as soon as possible. Whether you need to find out if you can stop paying child support or your former spouse has unexpectedly stopped paying when they shouldn’t have, we can help.