As a family law attorney in Arizona, I frequently encounter cases involving the question of when child support ends. The answer is found in Arizona statute, which states:
25-503. Order for support; methods of payment; modification; termination; statute of limitations; judgment on arrearages; notice; security
. . .
O. For the purposes of this chapter, a child is emancipated:
1. On the date of the child’s marriage.
2. On the child’s eighteenth birthday.
3. When the child is adopted.
4. When the child dies.
5. On the termination of the support obligation if support is extended beyond the age of majority pursuant to section 25-501, subsection A or section 25-320, subsections E and F.
25-501. Duties of support; exemption
A. Except as provided in subsection F of this section, every person has the duty to provide all reasonable support for that person’s natural and adopted minor, unemancipated children, regardless of the presence or residence of the child in this state. In the case of mentally or physically disabled children, if the court, after considering the factors set forth in section 25-320, subsection D, deems it appropriate, the court may order support to continue past the age of majority. If a child reaches the age of majority while the child is attending high school or a certified high school equivalency program, support shall continue to be provided while the child is actually attending high school or the equivalency program but only until the child reaches nineteen years of age unless the court enters an order pursuant to section 25-320, subsection E.
25-320. Child support; factors; methods of payment; additional enforcement provisions; definitions
. . .
E. Even if a child is over the age of majority when a petition is filed or at the time of the final decree, the court may order support to continue past the age of majority if all of the following are true:
1. The court has considered the factors prescribed in subsection D of this section.
2. The child is severely mentally or physically disabled as demonstrated by the fact that the child is unable to live independently and be self-supporting.
3. The child’s disability began before the child reached the age of majority.
F. If a child reaches the age of majority while the child is attending high school or a certified high school equivalency program, support shall continue to be provided during the period in which the child is actually attending high school or the equivalency program but only until the child reaches nineteen years of age unless the court enters an order pursuant to subsection E of this section. Notwithstanding any other law, a parent paying support for a child over the age of majority pursuant to this section is entitled to obtain all records related to the attendance of the child in the high school or equivalency program.
If there is more than one child, child support does not end or automatically modify until the last child is emancipated. If a change in child support becomes necessary prior to the last child being emancipated, the parties must petition the Court for a modification of the child support order. Child support automatically ends then, when any of the following occur: 1) the child is married; 2) the child turns 18 (and graduates from high school); 3) the child turns 19 even if still in high school; 4) the child is adopted 5) the child dies. The Court may continue beyond 18 or 19 if the child has special needs, though this requires a court order and is not automatic.
Even if child support has ended based upon the above criteria, you may still need the Court to enter an order to terminate an order of assignment or wage assignment or garnishment for child support.
If you need help with establishing, modifying or terminating child support, or have other family law questions, please contact a family law attorney at McGuire Gardner by calling 800 899 2730.