Pursue Appropriate Child Support For An Older Child
If you were divorced or separated when your children were small, you may have primarily needed child support to help pay for household utilities, transportation, groceries and child care. Now that your children are older, they may no longer need child care. This fact can offer financial relief. However, teenagers are notorious for large appetites, and overall household expenses may increase with the child’s growth. Furthermore, custodial parents often discover that needs change, and an older child may require financial support for one or more of the following:
- Therapy or tutoring to meet the challenges of a learning disability
- Additional uninsured health expenses if an injury occurs, a disability is diagnosed or a chronic condition develops
- Private school tuition
- Extracurricular activity expenses
Is A Child Support Modification In Order? Ask A Lawyer.
If your child’s needs change, an existing child support order will not automatically increase or decrease to account for those needs or for changes in parents’ incomes. However, greater expenses may mean that a child support modification is appropriate, especially if the paying parent now earns substantially more than they did when the child support order was created.
Ask a family law attorney for help petitioning for an increase in child support if you believe a change is justified. On the other hand, if you pay child support and your income has decreased by 15% or more, you may have a good reason to petition the court to lower your child support obligations.
As A Child Support Order Ages Out
If you pay or receive child support in California, these payments will normally continue until the child turns 18 or, if he or she is still in high school at that time, until age 19 or high school graduation, whichever comes first. Expenses for children do not usually end at age 18, however. College tuition is challenging for many families whether or not parents are together. If a young adult child is disabled, a legal arrangement such as a conservatorship may be necessary.
The state will not issue a child support order to account for college tuition or the needs of an adult disabled child, but divorced and separated parents often need to plan together on how to help a son or daughter through college. Ideally, communication skills practiced over the years of co-parenting will be useful. While these may not be issues for the court, a skilled family law attorney or family counselor can help facilitate productive dialogue between the parents.
I Am Ready To Advise Parents Of Teenage Children
In my 35-plus years practicing family law in California, I, Steven R. Stolar, have gathered many resources that have helped parents adjust to changes in children’s needs as they mature. I will be glad to share ideas on meeting the challenges of college tuition support or the care of a disabled adult child.