Providing for children financially is usually a part of any divorce settlement when minor children are involved. Although it is not uncommon for parents to want to help their children in any way they can, there are legal stipulations that dictate when child support is no longer required. Is there an opportunity to get child support money beyond the legal age limit?
Child Support Age Limits In Arizona
Unlike some states where child support continues into college, the presumptive date for termination of child support in Arizona is the last day of the month of the 18th birthday of the youngest child. However, if the youngest child will not complete high school by the age of 18, the presumptive date is the last day of the month of the graduation date or age 19, or whichever occurs first.
If you are receiving child support for multiple children, the amount of child support does not automatically reduce each time one of the children reaches the age of majority. If either party believes a higher or lower amount of child support is appropriate, they must apply to the court for a modification.
Exceptions to the Rule
In Arizona, the only circumstances under which child support may continue past the age of majority are the following:
- If a child is severely mentally or physically disabled (which must be demonstrated by the fact that the child is unable to live independently and be self-supporting
- The child’s disability began before the child reached the age of the majority
- The court has considered the financial resources and needs of the child, the custodial parent, and the non-custodial parent; the standard of the living the child would have enjoyed if the marriage had not been dissolved; and the physical and emotional condition of the child, including their educational needs.
When You Want To Do More
Although the court cannot force a parent to pay child support past the age of majority except in the above limited circumstances, you and your spouse (or ex) can enter into a binding contractual agreement, that can be filed with the court, to extend support for children past the age of the majority. Such agreements past the age of majority can include the continued provision of health insurance, medical expenses, or college expenses. When it comes to college expenses, the agreement must be specific enough to be enforced by a court. Thus, you may want to include the number of years of schooling that will be paid for, the type of schooling (private versus public, in-state versus out-of-state), and what specific expenses will be paid (tuition, books, transportation, other school fees, etc).
Caring for children and providing for their needs is a critical component of a divorce settlement. No matter what side of the table you are on, you will undoubtedly have questions about how child support works.
Contact us at Hallier Stearns PLC for more information on how we can help.