If you recently divorced in Ohio and your spouse has primary or full custody of your children, it is likely that you have to pay child support. Child support is an obligation, not an option. The courts will take steps to enforce your child support obligations if you do not pay of your own volition.

Thankfully, there are limits to how much support the court can order and how long you will have to pay child support. Educating yourself about your rights as a parent paying support can help you make the best decisions regarding your legal situation and your finances.

In most cases, child support ends at age 18

For the average family, child support ends when the child reaches the age of majority, which is 18. Even if your child is college-bound, the courts cannot compel you to continue paying child support while they pursue a higher education.

However, if your child turns 18 and is still enrolled in high school, you will likely need to continue paying child support for a while longer. If your child doesn’t graduate while still a minor, you may have to pay child support until they turn 19.

There are other circumstances that may end your obligation

Although age is usually the determining factor in whether a parent has to continue paying child support, sometimes other circumstances have an impact on child support obligations as well. If your child gets married before they turn 18, you will not have to pay child support anymore.

Similarly, if your child seeks and receives legal emancipation while still a minor, your support obligations end. If someone else adopts your child, you won’t have to pay support anymore either. However, for a stepparent or third party to adopt your child, you will likely have to rescind your parental rights.

Remember that child support benefits your kids

As a parent, you, no doubt, want to give your children the best opportunities in life. While child support can be frustrating and difficult to pay, it is an important contribution toward the needs of your child.

If your child is college-bound or has exceptional needs that exceed the amount of support you pay, you might consider working with your ex to cover the costs of the special care or educational needs for your child. The truth is that money will always come and go, but the relationship with your child is a once-in-a-lifetime experience.

If there are issues with your child support, such as the amount being too high for you to pay, you might need to discuss a modification. A child support modification could lower your obligation before your child is old enough to no longer need support.