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Can child support ever be extended past a child’s 18th birthday?

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Children are, without a doubt, expensive to raise. If you’re paying child support, you may view your teenager’s upcoming 18th birthday with a sense of relief.

The issue may not be that simple, however. There are a few situations where child support can extend into a child’s adult years.

Three possible reasons your child support obligation may continue

Illinois law makes it possible for a court to order child support to continue into a child’s adulthood for several different reasons, including the following:

  • Your child is still in high school: Not every student graduates shortly before or after their 18th birthday. If your adult child is still in high school, your obligation for support may continue until they graduate.
  • Your child has a significant disability: If your child is mentally or physically unable to support themselves due to a condition that started when they were a minor, you may be required to keep paying support for some time — at least until they become eligible for other forms of financial aid, like Supplemental Security Income (SSI).
  • Your child goes to college: Illinois law is somewhat unique in that it allows the court to consider a parent’s financial means. If they are sufficient, that parent may be required to help pay for the cost of a child’s post-secondary education. This includes tuition, housing and fees, among other expenses.

If you’re paying support for a minor child who will soon be an adult, it’s wise to consider the possibility that your support obligation isn’t yet over. If your co-parent is already discussing the issue, it may be even wiser to get some legal guidance on the issue.

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