Parents have a responsibility to provide for their children financially until they can become self-supporting. If you and your spouse divorce, you may have to fulfill this obligation by paying child support rather than contributing to the general household income as you did during your marriage.
According to the Oregon Judicial Branch, your support obligations to your children usually end when they turn 18. However, there are situations in which your support obligations could end early. Conversely, there are also situations in which your obligation to pay child support could extend past your child’s 18th birthday.
Circumstances in which child support can end early
To emancipate a minor is to extend the legal status, rights and responsibilities of an adult to a person under the age of 18. If you have a child under the age of 18 who becomes emancipated, you no longer have to pay child support for him or her.
One way that a minor can become emancipated is through a court process. The court may also recognize your child’s emancipation if he or she is in the military, is self-supporting or married. Note that Oregon law allows 17-year-olds to marry if their parents give permission; otherwise, the minimum age is 18.
Circumstances that can extend your child support obligation
You may have to continue to pay support after your child turns 18 if he or she is still attending school. The rationale is that, as a student, your child may not be fully self-supporting yet even though he or she became legally emancipated at age 18 and has attained the legal status of an adult.
Legal standards apply to determine whether your child still qualifies for support as a student over the age of 18.