Nevada’s state laws require parents to financially support their children. Both parents share in this duty to provide for their children’s “necessary maintenance, health care, education, and support.” While they both have this duty, a non-custodial parent will generally be ordered to pay monthly payments following child support guidelines, while a custodial parent is assumed to be contributing their share to the child who is in their primary care. Even if the parents share joint physical custody, child support is still ordered.
Child support represents a significant financial obligation for parents. We, therefore, hear the following question from many parents: when does a child support obligation end?
Child Support is For “Minor” Children
A child support obligation only lasts until a child is no longer a “minor child”. While the general age of the majority is 18 years old—which means that most obligations end when the child turns 18—there are exceptions. There are situations when a child support obligation can end before, or after, a child turns 18 years old. Specifically, a child support obligation can last until one of the following applicable events occurs.
- The child has been legally emancipated. This occurs when a child who is at least 16 has obtained a court decree which: (1) frees the parents from their rights and duties to the child, and (2) grants the child authority to make his or her own legal decisions and enter into contracts. Emancipation, therefore, absolves a parent of his or her continued child support payments for that child.
- When the child turns 18 years old and is no longer in high school.
- When the child is 19 years old if he or she is still in high school at the age of 18.
For a child that has been mentally or physically handicapped since before the age of majority, a parent may be responsible for supporting that child until the child is no longer handicapped or is self-supporting. A court order is necessary to establish that a child is no longer handicapped within the meaning of the law.
Again, the general rule is that a child support obligation ends when a child turns 18, unless the child is in high school at age 18, then when the child turns 19. This means that the obligation automatically terminates at that point unless the child support order specifies that one of the other aforementioned conditions exists. Notably, the termination of a child support obligation does not absolve a parent of unpaid child support. Outstanding arrearages are still owed even after the child is no longer a minor child.
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Viloria, Oliphant, Oster & Aman, L.L.P. provide high-quality family law representation to men and women who need help resolving issues surrounding divorce, child custody, and child support issues. Our attorneys are hard-working, proven, and effective in fully representing the interests of our clients. You deserve a client-focused attorney who will provide you with thoughtful, responsive representation. If you need legal assistance, call Viloria, Oliphant, Oster & Aman L.L.P. today at (775) 227-2280 to schedule an appointment or contact our office through our website.