Can a Teenager Collect Child Support from her Parents?
A New Jersey teenager sued her parents for $650 in weekly child support, the payment of the remainder of her tuition at a Catholic High School, and attorneys’ fees after her parents kicked her out of the house when she turned 18 years old. The Washington Post reports that New Jersey Superior Court Judge Peter Bogaard denied the teen’s immediate request for support yesterday, but ordered the parties to return to court in April, when they will present evidence and testimony on the over-arching question of whether the parents are obligated to financially support their daughter.
This begs the question: Would a Pennsylvania judge similarly rule if a Pennsylvania teen sued his parents for support after turning 18 years old?
We are frequently asked how long child support must be paid. In Pennsylvania, child support generally ceases when the child reaches the age of majority, which is defined as either eighteen years of age or when the child graduates from high school, whichever comes later.
However, there is a well-recognized exception to this rule. Section 4321 provides that parents may be liable for the support of their children who are 18 years of age older. Where a child is too feeble physically or mentally to support himself, the support obligation generally continues after the child reaches the age of majority.
Further, in Pennsylvania, a court may order one or both parents who are separated, divorced, unmarried or otherwise subject to an existing support obligation to provide for the educational costs of their child regardless of whether the child has reached the age of majority. 23 Pa.C.S. §4327.