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Duration of a Child Support Order

By Ronn Bisbee

The duration of a child support order is generally set by statute. However, the court may change the duration of a child support order, as necessary and legally warranted. Pursuant to the California Family Code, child support must continue until the child is 18 years of age, but must continue up to 19 years of age if the child is continuously enrolled full-time in high school, and not self supporting. Fam.C. Section 3901(a). However, the child does NOT have to show a good faith effort to graduate from high school as soon as possible for the child support order to continue. IRMO Hubner (2001).

Child support orders do survive the death of the noncustodial parent. The child support order becomes chargeable against the obligor’s estate. IRMO Gregory (1991).

Pursuant to Fam.C. Section 7120, a child may petition the court for emancipation. A judicial determination of emancipation, which means that the child is now self-supporting, will terminate the child support order.

If the child is disabled, support may continue indefinitely. However, the disability must be specifically and clearly substantiated by declaration and/or testimony (often by a qualified professional). Fam.C. 3910


By Ronn Bisbee

The length of a spousal support order (also known as alimony) often varies. Depending on the length of the marriage, a spousal support order may continue for the life of the spousal support obligee. Generally, a spousal support order will continue until either party dies, or the support obligee remarries (or cohabitates).

Serving Orange County, San Diego County, Riverside County, San Bernardino County, Los Angeles County, and Ventura County. We enforce California child support orders and spousal support orders anywhere in California, and in many cases, nationwide, under the the Uniform Interstate Family Support Act (UIFSA).

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