How Long Is Child Support Due in California?

By | September 2, 2012

It is a common question that most parents dealing with Orange County child support issues have.  Whether you are the child support payor or the recipient, it is often a struggle for each parent to manage a budget and adequately meet their child’s needs.  There are two California statutes that should be read together to understand the duration of child support in California.  The first one is Family Code section 3900 (2012 version), which says, “Subject to this division, the father and mother of a minor child have an equal responsibility to support their child in the manner suitable to the child’s circumstances.”  In the next section, Family Code section 3901 (2012 version) goes on to state, “(a) The duty of support imposed by Section 3900 continues as to an unmarried child who has attained the age of 18 years, is a full-time high school student, and who is not self-supporting, until the time the child completes the 12th grade or attains the age of 19 years, whichever occurs first.”

Based on the above, you can see that there are a number of circumstances that could terminate child support, such as the child becoming emancipated or getting married before support would otherwise stop.  A common misconception for those who have not read the statute is that support stops when the child reaches 18.  Now that you have read the statute, it is easy to see that even though a child may be 18 years old, if they are still attending high school full-time, then support would still be due.  If they are 18 years old and in their senior year of high school, you would expect support to be due through the month in which they graduate.