The age of majority in Arizona is 18, and parents who are paying child support often assume that they will no longer be required to make payments once their child reaches this age. However, this is not always the case. Child support payments may sometimes continue if the child is disabled or is still attending high school. Parents should also be aware that the payments will not automatically stop after their child's eighteenth birthday, and they are required to request that the support be terminated.
In certain situations, the child support obligation may end before a child turns 18. Payments may cease if a child becomes emancipated. Children may be considered emancipated under the Arizona laws regarding child support if they leave home, join the military, get married or become financially independent.
Changes in a parent's circumstances could lead to their obligation to pay child support being modified. If one parent begins to earn far more or less money, an appeal can be made to the court for a child support payments to be adjusted. This sometimes happens when the parent paying child support becomes unemployed or the custodial parent receives a significant pay raise. An Arizona family court judge decides if a child support modification is warranted.
Parents are often willing to make significant sacrifices for their children, but this does not always prevent discussions over child support becoming contentious. A family law attorney can explain how the Arizona Child Support Guidelines are applied and can also point out factors that may lead to a support order being miscalculated. Such factors could include undisclosed income or expenses that are likely to increase over time. An attorney could also advocate in court on behalf of parents seeking, or objecting to, a child support modification order.
Source: FindLaw, "When Does Child Support End?", accessed on Feb. 18, 2015