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What Age Does Child Support End in Illinois

What Age Does Child Support End in Illinois?

Child support is a financial obligation that one parent has to the other for the support of their child. It is a legal requirement intended to ensure that both parents contribute to the financial well-being of their children, even after divorce or separation. In Illinois, child support typically ends when the child reaches the age of 18. However, there are certain circumstances in which child support may continue beyond this age.

Child Support Laws in Illinois:

According to the Illinois Marriage and Dissolution of Marriage Act (IMDMA), child support generally terminates when the child turns 18 or graduates from high school, whichever occurs later. This means that if a child does not graduate from high school until the age of 19, for example, child support will continue until that time.

However, there are exceptions to this rule. If a child has a disability, child support may continue indefinitely, regardless of age. In such cases, the court may require the noncustodial parent to provide financial support for the child’s ongoing needs. The court will consider the child’s physical and mental condition and the resources available to both parents when determining the amount of support.

Another circumstance in which child support may continue beyond the age of 18 is when a child is still attending college or pursuing higher education. Under Illinois law, child support can be extended until the child turns 19 or completes their undergraduate degree, whichever occurs first. The court may also order the noncustodial parent to contribute to the child’s college expenses, including tuition, books, and fees.

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Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs):

Q: Can child support be extended if the child is still in high school after turning 18?
A: Yes, child support can be extended until the child graduates from high school, even if they turn 18 before completing their education.

Q: What if the child is emancipated before turning 18?
A: If a child gets married, joins the military, or becomes financially independent and self-supporting, they may be considered emancipated. In such cases, child support may end before the child turns 18.

Q: What happens if the noncustodial parent fails to pay child support?
A: Nonpayment of child support is a serious matter and can result in various consequences, such as wage garnishment, driver’s license suspension, tax refund interception, or even imprisonment. The custodial parent can seek enforcement through the Illinois Department of Healthcare and Family Services’ Division of Child Support Services.

Q: Can child support be modified after it has been decided?
A: Yes, child support orders can be modified if there is a significant change in circumstances, such as a change in income, job loss, or changes in the child’s needs. Either parent can petition the court for a modification.

Q: Can child support be terminated if the custodial parent remarries?
A: No, child support obligations remain regardless of the custodial parent’s marital status. Child support is based on the child’s needs and the noncustodial parent’s income, not the custodial parent’s financial situation.

In conclusion, child support in Illinois typically ends when the child turns 18 or graduates from high school, whichever occurs later. However, there are exceptions for children with disabilities or those pursuing higher education. It is crucial for parents to understand their rights and obligations regarding child support, as well as the potential consequences for nonpayment. Seeking legal advice is advisable when dealing with child support matters to ensure compliance with the law and the best interests of the child.

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