As our website has discussed, a parent’s child support obligation does not last forever. When one thinks about it, this makes sense since a child who lives with both of his parents in Rockford will eventually be expected to make his own way in life and pay for his own needs.
By way of review, the obligation to pay child support generally ends at the age of 18, the legal age of adulthood in this state. In the event that an 18-year-old is in high school, the obligation may terminate at the child’s 19th birthday instead, as that gives the child, or rather young adult, ample opportunity to graduate and get settled in her future endeavors.
However, even these upper age limits on child support are not bright-line rules in this state. For one, a court in Illinois still has the discretion to order parents to pay expenses connected with college on behalf of their adult child. But, a child does not have the right to a college education in the same way he has a right to basic support when he is a minor.
Furthermore, the reality is that not all children are really going to be able to take care of themselves when they turn 18. Specifically, many children have a disability or disabilities that are going to require that their parents, or other caretakers, continue to provide financial support and care for them. In these cases, a court can require child support well in to a child’s adulthood.
The bottom line is that terminating child support is not always just a matter of waiting until a child turns 18. In fact, it is rarely a good idea to just stop paying support when a child reaches adulthood. At a minimum, speaking with an attorney before doing so is advisable.