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When You Can Extend Child Support Beyond Age 18

Posted on in Child Support

When You Can Extend Child Support Beyond Age 18In most cases, divorced or separated parents’ obligation towards child support for an individual child ends when the child turns 18 years old. If there are other children who are still minors, the support payments must be modified to reflect one less child. Otherwise, the support payments end once the last child becomes a non-minor. A parent may not feel like his or her parenting expenses are over if the non-minor child continues to live with him or her or is still financially dependent. There are three situations in which Illinois law allows the primary parent to continue receiving child support payments after the child has become a legal adult.

College Students

Young adults often choose to obtain a post-secondary education, but attending college is expensive. Illinois parents can petition to continue child support payments to cover a non-minor child’s college expenses, including tuition, housing, textbooks, school supplies, food, and medical expenses. Students who commute to school while still living with a parent are eligible, though the living expenses will be less. However, there are qualifications and limitations to the support payments:

  • Living expenses must be reasonable;
  • The student may be required to seek financial aid first;
  • The student must maintain at least a C grade point average; and
  • The payments end once the student obtains a bachelor’s degree, is married or turns 23 years old.

Non-Minors in High School

High school students often turn 18 years old before they graduate. They are non-minors but are still in the same living situation as when they were minors. Thus, Illinois law extends the child support obligation for non-minor high school students, through age 19.

Non-Minors with Disabilities

Children with certain mental or physical disabilities may remain dependent on their parents even after becoming adults. For child support purposes, a disability is defined as a condition that substantially limits a person’s life activity. A parent of a disabled, non-minor child may petition for continued child support contributions from the other parent, as long as:

  • The non-minor child has not been emancipated; and
  • The disability did not develop after the child is no longer eligible for child support.

Courts will consider benefits available to the disabled, non-minor child, such as Supplemental Security Income, when determining the child support obligation of each party.

Future Child Support

You should investigate the possibility of continued child support before your child turns 18 to prevent an interruption in payments. A DuPage County family law attorney at Calabrese Associates, P.C., can assess whether your child will qualify for child support payments after becoming a non-minor. Schedule a consultation by calling 630-393-3111.


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