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Duration of Child Support in Georgia

In most instances, child support endures until the minor child for whom child support is being paid reaches the age of majority. However, in Georgia, child support does not automatically end at a child's 18th birthday. If fact, under Georgia law, child support may endure past a child's 18th birthday in some circumstances. This extended duration may be due to the parent's agreement in a Marital Settlement Agreement, or by virtue of a court ordering an extended child support duration.  According to Georgia child support law, court ordered child support may end when one of the following circumstances occurs:

1)    Upon the child reaching the age of majority, unless there is a provision that child support should continue through the child's secondary school education up to age 20. The parent's may, by agreement, provide that child support continue for a longer period. However, without the parent's consent, neither a court nor a jury can require that a parent support a child beyond age 18, except a court or jury may provide that child support continue until age 20 if the child is still enrolled in secondary school.

2)    Upon the marriage of the child.

3)    Upon the death of the minor child.

4)    Upon the death of the obligated parent.

5)    Upon the death of the parent who is the legal custodian of the child.

6)    If the obligated parent acquires legal custody of the child.

7)    As is otherwise mandated by the court's final decree.

See O.C.G.A. § 19-6-15(e); Golden v. Golden, 230 Ga. 867 (1973); Brooks v. Jones, 227 Ga. 566 (1971); Clavin v. Clavin, 238 Ga. 421 (1977); Cleveland v. Tully, 232 Ga. 377 (1974); Roberts v. Roberts, 231 Ga. 370 (1973); McCord v. McCord, 233 Ga. 421 (1975).

Thus, according to Georgia law, even without the consent of the parents, a Georgia court may order child support to endure until the child reaches his or her 20th birthday, if that child is still enrolled in secondary school on a full time basis. Id.

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