Each state has enacted its own laws regarding
child support – how much it is, how it ends, and when it can be modified. Generally,
child support ends when a child reaches the age of 18, 19, or 21 (in New
York) in the United States.
While many states require that a noncustodial parent pay child support
until their child turns 18 or graduates high school, in Colorado parents
have to pay child support until their child turns 19. However, if the
teenager is still in high school on their 19th birthday, child support
ends one month after their high school graduation.
If you are going to be paying child support, you want to be vigilant when
it gets close to your child’s 19th birthday or high school graduation.
You don’t want to rely on the local child support agency to automatically
stop deducting your child support payments from your wages or other benefits.
Instead, we recommend filing a court action to ensure that the court formally
stops your child support obligation.
“Are there any exceptions? Can child support payments last longer
for any reason?” Yes, it is possible. Usually a child support obligation
lasts beyond a child’s 19th birthday or high school graduation when
the child is mentally or physically disabled and cannot financially support
himself or herself.
Child Support Modifications
If you are getting a divorce in the near future, the court will review
your financial circumstances at the time of the divorce and issue an initial
child support order. However, the Colorado courts know that it’s
common for financial circumstances to change over time.
If you wish to request a
modification of the support order because there’s been a significant change in
your income or the other parent’s income, you may ask the court.
If a recalculation will adjust the existing support order by 10% up or
down, a modification may be approved by the court.
Can I Stop Paying Child Support if I Can’t See My Kids?
What could lead to a modification? Examples include a paying parent’s
loss of employment, a significant change in how much time the paying parent
spends with their children, or a parent’s return to school. On the
other hand, in Colorado, remarriage and having to support stepchildren
do not affect child support obligations.