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Law Offices of Molly B. Kenny

When Child Support Payments Come To An End In Washington State

Molly B. Kenny
Founder and Principal Divorce Attorney

It’s pretty apparent when child support payments begin for a child – but when do your financial obligations to your kids end? While many people will tell you that child support payments in Washington state come to an end when your kid turns 18, that assumption is not necessarily always the case. Payments could stop before that time or could be required past that time.

There are five common ways that child support payments end in Washington State:

  • The child turns 18 years of age.
  • The child graduates from high school.
  • The child marries.
  • The child dies.
  • The child is over 18 and no longer considered disabled.

As you can see, certain circumstances could mean that you make child support payments well after the child turns 18 or that you could halt child support legally before that time. For example, if your child does not graduate from high school until after he or she is 18, you may be obligated to provide financial support until that time. On the other hand, if you child marries at 17 and begins his or her own life, you could legally stop making payments at that time.

In some cases, a court may order you to pay secondary educational expenses; that is, for you to help your child financially as they transition to college. In these cases, the judge will base her decision on a number of factors, including:

  • How much support would have been given if you had stayed married to your spouse.
  • How old the child is.
  • Whether or not the child’s parents attended college.
  • Whether or not that parents intended for the child to attend college when they were together.
  • The child’s ambitions and abilities.
  • The parents’ current resources.

Do you have a question about when your financial obligations and child support payments should or will end? Speak with a Seattle child custody attorney today.