Q: My kid turned 18 today, I don’t have to make payments anymore right?
A: Wrong. In North Carolina your child support obligation does not automatically end when the child turns 18. If your child is attending school regularly and progressing towards graduation, you will be required to continue payments until graduation or your child turns 20 years old, whichever comes first. See below for a full list of conditions that may end your support obligation.
Payments for child support terminate upon the earliest of the following conditions:
1. The minor child turns eighteen (18) years of age and is not attending school
2. The minor child becomes emancipated;
3. If the minor child is still in primary or secondary school when he reaches age 18, support payments shall continue until the child graduates, otherwise ceases to attend school on a regular basis, fails to make satisfactory academic progress towards graduation, or reaches age 20, whichever comes first, unless the court in its discretion orders that payments cease at 18 or prior to high school graduation;
4. The minor child dies;
5. The parent responsible for paying child support dies;
6. The custody of the minor child is changed to the party who was paying the support obligation; or
7. If the child is either physically or mentally incapable of caring for himself, support shall not end until the child is found to be competent for his own care.
Regardless of which condition fits your case, you must file a Motion for Termination of Child Support with the Court and have your matter heard. DO NOT stop making payments until the Court has officially terminated your obligation. You will be responsible for any missed payments and may be found in Contempt of Court if you stop paying before your motion is heard.
The attorneys at Champagne & Champagne can assist you in this matter. Contact us today for a free evaluation of your case.
Know the Law
Payments ordered for the support of a child shall terminate when the child reaches the age of 18 except:
(1) If the child is otherwise emancipated, payments shall terminate at that time;
(2) If the child is still in primary or secondary school when the child reaches age 18, support payments shall continue until the child graduates, otherwise ceases to attend school on a regular basis, fails to make satisfactory academic progress towards graduation, or reaches age 20, whichever comes first, unless the court in its discretion orders that payments cease at age 18 or prior to high school graduation.
(3) If the child is enrolled in a cooperative innovative high school program authorized under Part 9 of Article 16 of Chapter 115C of the General Statutes, then payments shall terminate when the child completes his or her fourth year of enrollment or when the child reaches the age of 18, whichever occurs later.