While the law in many states says that child support should end around a child's 18th birthday, Colorado is different.
In fact, under Colorado law, child support obligations typically continue at least until the child turns 19-years-old, which is the general age of emancipation in Colorado. However, it is important to note that there are several exceptions to this rule - meaning child support may end earlier or last even longer, depending on the circumstances.
Extending or shorting child support durations
Even though emancipation occurs - and child support normally ends - when a child turns 19 in Colorado, there are several circumstances in which child support payments may continue longer, or terminate earlier, including:
- If a child is still in high school, child support payments continue until a month after his or her graduation.
- If a child drops out of high school, but later reenrolls, he or she is entitled to child support until a month after graduation, but in no instance can support continue beyond his or her 21st birthday.
- If a child is physically or mentally disabled, child support can be ordered beyond the age of 19.
- If a child gets married before his or her 19th birthday, he or she will be considered emancipated, meaning child support may end early. However, if his or her marriage is dissolved, annulled or determined to be invalid, child support can be reinstated.
- If a child joins the military before his or her 19th birthday, he or she will be considered emancipated and child support will end early.
As you can imagine, navigating child support law in Colorado can be complex, which is why it is always best to seek experienced legal guidance should you have any questions.
Also, it is important to remember that just because a person cannot terminate child support payments doesn't mean he or she cannot seek a modification. Talk to an attorney today if you would like to learn more.