How Long Must I Pay Child Support?
In New York State, generally, a child must be supported until the age of 21. However, there are a number of exceptions to this rule. When a child has not reached 21, but is supporting himself or herself, or is in the military or has married, the obligation to pay child support ends. Another situation that may merit the cessation of child support involves children between 17 and 21 who are on their own and not under the control of parents.
Once child support is ordered, the paying parent must continue to make payments for as long as the order is in effect. It is important to note that any agreement that the spouses come to either increasing or decreasing the amount of support without the approval of the court is not enforceable. This means that if you and your spouse verbally decide to lower the amount you pay, and at some point your spouse decides to file for the amount originally ordered, the court can order you to pay the original amount ordered, in spite of your verbal agreement to pay less.
Similarly, if you voluntarily decide to pay more, and then drop back to the original support amount, your spouse needs to seek court approval of the increased amount to guarantee receipt of that amount. Support orders can be modified due to changes in circumstances so do not hesitate to seek out the advice of a lawyer.
Speak to an experienced divorce attorney regarding child support issues.