While you might feel like your child support obligation is going to go on forever there is an ending date. In Minnesota, your child support will end when all of your children from the marriage have turned eighteen, or when they graduate from high school, whichever is later.
Child support obligations do not extend past the age of 20 even if the child has not graduated from high school. There’s only one exception to this: if you have a special needs child that is unlikely to be physically or mentally capable of meeting his or her own needs. Each of these cases is determined on a case-by-case basis, taking into consideration receipt of social security or other financial benefits available to the child.
What about college? You and your spouse might agree to send a child to college together, but you’re not obligated to do so unless you and your spouse signed something to that effect during your divorce settlement.
Child support ends automatically. You don’t have to go back to court. You can simply stop paying the support unless you had an income withholding order. If you did, you’ll need to make sure that your case manager knows the child’s 18th birthday or high school graduation is approaching.
This only works, however, if your child support is paid in full. If you’re in arrears the state will continue to collect the past due amount. You can’t simply “wait out” your child support obligation, hoping that it’s going to go away.
If you’ve changed jobs or are having financial difficulties for other reasons you can petition the court for a child support modification order. This is a fairly routine procedure, though there are no guarantees that the court will make any changes. If you get into trouble it’s usually better to try this route than it is to simply allow your debt to accrue.
An experienced, qualified family attorney can help you navigate each of these issues to put you in the best possible position after your divorce. The attorneys at BGS have been serving the Minneapolis metro area for over 75 years. If you’re facing a divorce and you’re not sure what to do, give us a call for your initial consultation today.