When does child support terminate? Parents maintain a legal responsibility to support their children financially even after divorce or the end of a non-marital relationship. There are conditions under which a child support obligation in Arizona will terminate.  Over the life of a child support obligation, it may have to be changed several times as circumstances change and children age past their minority.

The Order for Child Support should include terms such as how much needs to be paid, by which date of the month that payment needs to happen, and when the obligation to make such payments will draw to a close. Thankfully, there is relatively clear information about the basics in Arizona as it relates to child support establishment, modification, and termination. Read on to learn more about the general rules for termination based on age.

Basics of Child Support Termination Based on Age

Your obligation to pay child support in the state of Arizona ends on the last day of the month in which the child turns 18 years old. If the child is still in high school at this date, however, the parent’s obligation to pay child support ends when the child graduates from school or when he or she turns 19 years old (whichever is sooner).  In certain situations involving special needs children, a parent’s obligation to pay child support may continue beyond this particular date.

Many of the child support orders entered in Arizona will automatically terminate when the child reaches their “presumptive termination date” – that is, they turn 18 or it is the month in which it was expected that they would graduate from high school. This presumptive date is usually listed in the Order. If there are orders that involve more than one child, however, the order will not lower itself automatically when the child reaches 18. Instead, the parent paying the child support in Arizona needs to file a petition to modify child support in order to reflect the current age of the children.

Bear in mind that your child support obligation in Arizona does not automatically terminate if you lose a job or suffer a disability. You would need to consult directly with an Arizona family lawyer to learn more about the steps to take to modify a child support order. Just because you have had an instance like this happen to you does not mean that you can waive your responsibility to take care of the child support amount. If you have been impacted by a major life change like this, you need to hire an attorney sooner rather than later so that you can modify the child support order as soon as possible.


This blog should be used for informational purposes only. It does not create an attorney-client relationship with any reader and should not be construed as legal advice. If you need legal advice regarding When Does Child Support Terminate?, or other family law issues, please feel free to contact Barry C. Dickerson at 480.461.5300, log on to udallshumway.com, or contact an attorney in your area. Udall Shumway PLC is located in Mesa, Arizona and is a full service law firm. We assist Individuals, families, businesses, schools, and municipalities in Mesa and the Phoenix/East Valley.