Post-secondary child support is, very briefly, support for a child past high school or the age of 18. Traditionally, the law forced parents to continue paying expenses for college. The “post-secondary” refers to “post-secondary education.”

Do I have to pay post-secondary child support?

The law in California is very clear. Generally, child support obligations end once your child turns 18, but there are some conditions where you may pay a little longer. If they are still in high school as of their 18th birthday, you will continue to pay child support until they graduate or turn 19, whichever comes first.

However, if your child meets California’s definition of “incapacitated,” you will continue to pay child support. The state views both parents as having a responsibility to care for their incapacitated child, and that responsibility does not expire at the age of 18.

What should I do if my ex stops paying support when they should?

Enforcing a child support order may require you to pursue legal action. A child support order is a court order, and it is legally binding. Refusing to honor your agreement in these cases may lead to:

  • Loss of license or passport
  • Loss of professional licenses
  • Liens
  • Interception of tax refunds

Additionally, back child support is charged 10% interest and the non-paying parent may face charges of civil contempt.

What if my ex promised to pay for college and backed out?

Unfortunately, a verbal promise like this is not enforceable. If you wish to take steps to ensure that college is payable, you may have to consider additional agreements before your child reaches the age of majority.