Short Answer, No
Video Transcribed: I’m a Tulsa Men’s Divorce Lawyer. Today I want to talk to you about another legal misconception that a lot of people seem to believe and unfortunately, this is incorrect. And that has to do with the payment of child support and when does your child age out?
A lot of people seem to think that once the child’s 18, they don’t have to pay. Unfortunately, under Oklahoma law and this is boilerplate language in most divorce decrees, you’ll see in fact, the majority of the time judges will require it and if you have a DHS as a necessary party, they always insist on this, is that basically there’ll be language in your decree and there’s statutory language that stands for the premise that if your child attains the age of 18 while they’re still in high school and they haven’t completed high school yet, then you’re responsible until either the child graduates or attains an age of 21. You still have to pay. And if you don’t pay, you are in contempt of court.
So, unfortunately, guys, if you have an adult child where there’s a child support order in place and they’re still in high school for whatever reason, yes, you do still have to pay. Now, that being said, there may be some other options for you to either get that obligation reduced or eliminated.
Once the child is 18, then the custody portion of the order is no longer enforced. A child can live wherever the hell they want because they are an illegal adult. So, you could certainly, if you have a good relationship with the child and if you are so inclined, you could talk to them about moving into your home. If they live with you, you would have a change of circumstances that would justify no longer paying child support for that adult child and it may be that mom becomes liable.
So it’s not a hopeless situation, but just understand that the obligation isn’t to go away because the child has attained the age of 18. There’s another dimension to this too. Let’s say that you owe an arrearage when the child attains 18. That arrearage doesn’t go away either and it continues to accumulate interest because you owe that money until it’s paid, however long that may be.
And I’m sorry to say I’ve seen cases of people who are elderly have adult children in their twenties and thirties or older, who they still owe child support for and are still getting aggressively prosecuted by the Department of Human Services Child Support Enforcement, who will chase you forever for that money. It’s not a joke to say they will literally follow you to the grave and they’ll try to collect it off your estate.
So, unfortunately, 18 years of age doesn’t mean you’re not obliged to pay. It does not. That’s an unfortunate misconception and it’s probably a good idea to, if the child’s attained 18, look for an argument for a change of circumstance and get a court order but don’t just stop paying, because you’re liable until the child graduates.
So guys, if you have questions about that, I would encourage you to go to dads.law and if you are having issues with your child support, we can help you out. If you are looking for a divorce attorney for men, go to dads.law.