Does the Tassel End the Hassle? High School Graduation and Child Support

Category: Family Law

High school graduation is an important milestone for both students and parents. For parents paying child support, graduation season can present an opportunity to modify or terminate their court ordered support obligations.

Under Arizona law, child support terminates once a child reaches 18 years of age, or upon graduation if the child turns 18 while attending high school.  In certain situations child support can be extended beyond the age of 18, but these very much represent the exception rather than the norm.

Even if a parent has additional children who are still under 18, a modification can be sought to adjust child support downward after removing the recent graduate from the calculation.  Regardless of the age(s) of the remaining child(ren), it is always worth evaluating whether the potential savings justify the costs of a trip to court.

While the law regarding termination of child support appears relatively simple, there can be significant consequences for those who ignore certain important details.  If a parent simply stops paying child support without ensuring the appropriate steps are taken, they risk being ambushed years or decades later after the State has allowed interest to compound on undocumented past payments.  Even when relations between parents seem amicable, goodwill can quickly give way to self-interest once the receiving spouse realizes the windfall they stand to potentially gain. These and other risks can be appropriately addressed in advance by an experienced family law attorney.

Given the stakes, it is always worth at least consulting with an attorney before filing anything with the courts.  If you or someone you know has a child graduating high school in the coming months, contact attorney Michael Girgenti at (480) 733-6800, or by email at