California Family Law Attorney
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January 24, 2010
  How long does a CHILD SUPPORT OBLIGATION continue?
Posted By Thurman Arnold

Q. How long does child support last?


A. At a minimum, by statute, the duty to support a child that is imposed by FC section 3900 continues as to an unmarried child until the age of 18 years or, if the child remains a full-time high school student and is not yet self-supporting, until age 19 or upon high school graduation, whichever first occurs. FC section 3901.

You will notice that California, unlike some states, does not provide for child support during college. Nonetheless, parents are free to agree, and in such cases courts can order, child support extending beyond age 19. This is something worth considering in any relatively healthy dissolution situation, and is often addressed in collaborative divorce. College expenses are otherwise not part of a child support award.

If an adult child of any age whatever is or becomes incapacitated from earning a living and is without sufficient means, the support duty continues equally as between the parents as long as that condition persists. FC section 3910. This means that the county may provide services to the adult child if the parents don't, and later seek reimbursement from the parents.

T.W. Arnold III


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