How Long Are You Expected to Pay Child Support After a Divorce?

On Behalf of | Oct 16, 2023 | Family Law

Many questions arise when it comes to divorce, especially when children are involved. One of the most common and often contentious issues is child support. How long are you expected to pay child support after divorce?

Perhaps it’s not too surprising that, generally speaking, you should financially support your children for the same duration and to the same degree that you would financially support your children if the divorce never happened.

What is child support?

Child support is a legal obligation to help ensure that both parents financially contribute to the well-being of their child or children, even after divorce or separation. It is designed to cover the child’s costs, including food, clothing, education, and healthcare expenses. 

Child support in Minnesota

Minnesota follows specific child support guidelines that determine the amount of support a non-custodial parent is required to pay. The primary factor in determining child support obligations is the gross income earned by both parents. 

A secondary factor is the number of children for whom support is being determined. Having more children generally results in paying more in child support.

The third critical factor is the parents’ custody arrangement. In an instance where one parent has sole physical custody, the other parent usually bears a more substantial financial responsibility.

Duration of child support 

Child support typically continues until the child reaches the age of 18. However, if the child is still in high school at 18, support may continue until they graduate or turn 20, whichever comes first.

Child support may end if a child becomes emancipated before their 18th birthday. Emancipation occurs when a child gets married, joins the military,  or otherwise becomes self-supporting.

Understanding the guidelines and duration of child support is crucial for custodial and non-custodial parents alike

Finally, remember that child support orders can be modified if any of these three determining factors change, so staying informed and seeking legal advice when necessary is crucial to ensure financial fairness for both parents, without sacrificing the well-being of the child.