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Duration of Child Support

The purpose of child support is to provide financial support for the care and maintenance of a child until he or she reaches the age of majority. However, under certain circumstances, child support may endure past a child’s 18th birthday. According to Georgia law, a court ordered judgment for child support will end according to the following circumstances:

  1. Upon the child reaching the age of majority, unless there is a provision that child support should continue through the child’s secondary school education up to age 20. The parents may, by agreement, provide that child support continue for a longer period. However, without the parent’s consent, neither a court nor a jury can require that a parent support a child beyond age 18, except a court or jury may provide that child support continue until age 20 if the child is still enrolled in secondary school.
  2. Upon the marriage of the child.
  3. Upon the death of the obligated parent.
  4. Upon the death of the parent who is the legal custodian of the child.
  5. If the obligated parent acquires legal custody of the child.
  6. As is otherwise mandated by the court’s final decree.

See O.C.G.A. § 19-6-15(e); Golden v. Golden, 230 Ga. 867 (1973); Brooks v. Jones, 227 Ga. 566 (1971); Clavin v. Clavin, 238 Ga. 421 (1977); Cleveland v. Tully, 232 Ga. 377 (1974); Roberts v. Roberts, 231 Ga. 370 (1973); McCord v. McCord, 233 Ga. 421 (1975). Child support may also end when the child becomes self-supporting or when he or she becomes emancipated. However, child support does not terminate automatically upon these happenings. Termination of child support when the child becomes emancipated or self-supporting must be specifically provided for in the decree. Peacock v. Peacock, 212 Ga. 401 (1956). Additionally, a non-custodial parent’s duty to provide child support does not terminate upon the remarriage of the parent’s former spouse. Wimpey v. Pope, 246 Ga. 545 (1980). However, child support will terminate if the child is adopted by another, as the adoption decree terminates the parent’s future obligation to support the child. Sample v. Poteralski, 169 Ga.App. 448 (1984).

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