In Pennsylvania, once a child turns 18, he or she no longer is subject to the jurisdiction of family court and therefore the child can chose where he or she resides. However, if the child is attending high school a parent has a duty to support that child until he or she graduates high school. In the event the child is under 18 when he or she graduates high school the duty to support extends until the child’s 18th birthday.
A parent’s duty to support can extend beyond graduation and the child’s 18th birthday under certain limited circumstances. The test is whether the child is physically and mentally able to engage in profitable employment and whether employment is available to that child at a supporting wage. Generally if a child is capable of securing employment, even if he or she chooses not, there will be no duty to support. Further, if the child attends college and chooses not to obtain employment but is capable to do so there will be no duty to support. Essentially, there needs to be a physical or mental disability that impairs the child where he or she is unemployable and incapable of self-support.
Stephanie H. Winegrad focuses her practice on family law, handling matters including, divorce, custody and support as well as same-sex divorce and custody issues. Ms. Winegrad is a fellow with the American Academy of Matrimonial Lawyers and is listed in Ten Leaders in Divorce Law and listed in Super Lawyers®. She works out of the firm’s Conshohocken, PA office and can be reached at 267-675-4977 or at Stephanie.Winegrad@obermayer.com.