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When do child support obligations come to an end in Illinois?

On Behalf of | Feb 14, 2024 | Family Law |

When a marriage that involves a child comes to an end through divorce or separation, the court will often issue a child support order. Child support is intended to take care of the child’s day-to-day needs including food, clothing, shelter and education, among others.

If you are ordered to pay child support, you might be wondering how long this order will last. Understanding Illinois child support guidelines can help clear things up.

The age of emancipation

Generally, your child support obligation will remain in place until your child reaches the age of emancipation. In Illinois, this is 18 years old. However, certain factors beyond age may come into play as well. For instance, if your child is still in high school at 18, then you will be required to continue paying child support until they graduate and turn 19. You may also be expected to continue paying child support beyond their 18th birthday if:

  • You agreed to make payments while the child was in college
  • The adult child has a physical or mental disability

In the first case, there has to be evidence that the child is indeed enrolled in a college as a full-time student. Their other parent may also be expected to take up certain financial responsibilities like finding part-time work or seeking financial aid to help with the household’s expenses. Both parents’ incomes will be taken into account when determining a child’s college expense support.

In the second case, the court may order support from one or both parents based on their incomes.

What if the child is emancipated before turning 18?

Sometimes, a child can become financially independent before turning 18. In this case, you may petition the court to end your child support obligation. For this to happen, however, the child must be at least 14 and they must show that they can stand on their own feet, financially speaking.

Child support can be a contentious subject. Find out how proper legal counsel can help you navigate this subject during and after a divorce or separation if you have questions or concerns.