How long am I required to pay child support?

Last updated on April 8, 2021

In Georgia, child support is paid pursuant to statute until a child is 18 years of age or 20 years of age if the child is enrolled in secondary school (meaning high school) full time. So, child support stops at age 18 if the child has graduated from high school, dropped out of high school or is only attending high school part time. Once the child turns 20 years of age, child support stops regardless of whether they are going to high school or not.

Of course, the parties can agree to extend this amount of time, the parties can agree that child support is to be paid through college or even beyond. If the parties agree to such a provision, that provision will be enforceable by the court. It is important to remember that once an agreement is signed to extend the term of child support, the term or number of years child support is to be paid is not modifiable by the court without agreement of the parties to do so. The Court only has the power to order child support until age 18 or 20 if enrolled in high school full time, but the court can and will enforce any agreement by the parties to pay for a longer period of time.

In rare instances, a child can be considered to be emancipated prior to age 18, in which case child support would stop. To become emancipated a child would need to not live with either parent and be entirely self supporting. 

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