Child support is an obligation shared by most parents — even if no one has sought to enforce it in court. Most child support requirements in California end when the child reaches the age of majority at 18. Even though most legal child support obligations expire when the child turns 18, there are specific instances when child support payments may be required after a child turns 18 years old. These continuing obligations depend on state laws as well as the individual circumstances and party agreements.
In one situation a father who was legally required to pay child support has been paying that support for 38 years. Given the amount of time the father has been paying child support, the child is well past the age of 18. The father has been paying court-ordered child support for his offspring for all of these years because the child was born with a birth defect and is unable to provide self-support.
Now the father is 65-years-old, retired and can no longer pay the full amount of the court ordered child support. When child support has been court ordered, the financial obligation is typically based on the parent’s current income. If a parent’s financial situation substantially changes, the parent may petition the court to modify his or her court ordered child support obligation.
The request to modify an existing child support order is typically filed like most court request and can require notice to be provided to the opposite parent. Depending on the significant change in the parent’s financial situation, the existing child support obligation may be reduced or even eliminated.
It is precisely this type of situation in which an individual parent should seek the assistance of an attorney who not only understands state laws and the court process but also looks for the best solution based on individual circumstances.
Source: The Boston Herald, “Retiree wants to reduce child support payments,” Gerald Nissenbaum, Jan. 27, 2013