Many people think that child support payments automatically end when a child turns 18-years-old, but that is simply not the case in many jurisdictions. In fact, in several states – including Ohio – child support payments may continue for an extended period of time after the child turns 18.

For instance, depending on the circumstances, an Ohio parent may have to pay child support until the child reaches the age of 19, or longer.

So how long does child support last?

While the default age for terminating child support is normally 18, under Ohio law, child support can continue beyond a child’s eighteenth birthday in three distinct situations:

  • The child is a full-time student at a recognized and accredited high school
  • The child’s parents have agreed to continued child support, and this agreement is part of the parent’s separation agreement (which was incorporated into the divorce decree)
  • The child is incapable of supporting himself or herself due to a mental or physical disability

As you can imagine, the first instance mentioned above – the child is a full-time student – is typically the most common situation in which child support payments continue after a child turns 18. However, even if the child is attending an accredited high school, a parent’s child support obligation will only last until the child reaches the age of 19.

Also, it is important to note that your child support obligations will probably not automatically end once your child turns 19 or graduates from high school. You, or the child’s other parent, will typically need to inform the child support enforcement agency that your child support payments should terminate.

As you can imagine, navigating the complex rules governing child support payments can be difficult in Ohio, which is why you need to contact an experienced family law attorney should you have any questions or legal concerns.