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Kevin O'Flaherty

In this article, we will answer the question “when does child support end in Illinois?” including “at what age does child support terminate in Illinois?” and “Does child support always end at 18?”

 It is important for a parent who is paying or receiving child support to know when those payments will end.  A receiving parent may rely heavily on those support payments, so they should prepare themselves for the end date in advance.  A parent who pays child support should be aware of the deadline as stopping too early can result in major legal trouble with unpaid child support.

For more on the basics of Illinois Child Support, you can read our article “Illinois Child Support Laws Explained.”

At What Age Does Child Support Terminate in Illinois?

The age when child support is terminated is determined by the parents during the child support order process.  Typically, the age when child support ends is 18.  Illinois considers 18 to be the age when a child is legally considered an adult by the state government and therefore the parent might not be legally obligated to support the child.  However, there are several situations that may arise where child support payments will continue or change rather than end at 18.  In this article, we will break down some of the situations that may extend child support beyond 18.

Does Child Support Always End at 18 in Illinois?

There are situations that can cause child support to continue even after a child turns 18.  Some of these situations will be determined in the child support order, however some of them are more situational and will have to be argued to the court.  Here are some examples:

  • If the child is still in high school at the age of 18, a parent may be required to pay through high school graduation or the child’s 19th birthday.

  • If the child enters college or a trade school, the parent may be requested to help with college expenses.  This could include room and board, tuition, and several education-related expenses.
  • If the child is a person with a mental or physical disability, the parent may be requested to help pay for disability-related expenses even beyond the child’s 18th birthday and into adulthood.

  • If the child support agreement does not determine that 18 is the cut off age, the parent must take the case to court to argue for an end date.

  • Child support can actually end prior to a child’s 18th birthday if the child emancipates themselves from their parents.  At this point, the parents will no longer be legal responsible for providing for the child and child support will be terminated even if the child is under the age of 18.

These are some of the most common situations that could cause the end date of child support payments to change from the standard 18.  If you are unsure, we recommend bringing your child support order to an attorney who will be able to review the document for your and present you with you options.  

If you are in the Chicagoland area and would like to reach out to us, you can call 630-324-6666 to set up an appointment with an attorney.  

For more on Child Support after the age of 18, you can read our article “How to Change Child Support when a Child Turns 18.”

Disclaimer: The information provided on this blog is intended for general informational purposes only and should not be construed as legal advice on any subject matter. This information is not intended to create, and receipt or viewing does not constitute an attorney-client relationship. Each individual's legal needs are unique, and these materials may not be applicable to your legal situation. Always seek the advice of a competent attorney with any questions you may have regarding a legal issue. Do not disregard professional legal advice or delay in seeking it because of something you have read on this blog.


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