The NC child support laws were updated in 2020 - find out what this means…
Whether you pay child support each month or you count on it in your budget to care for your family, as your child grows up, there does come a time when the payments stop. However, it's not as cut-and-dried as you may think and there are several factors that can determine how long payments continue. Our child support attorneys in Raleigh are providing clarity to the question of "When does child support end in North Carolina?"
Does Child Support End When My Child Turns 18?
When a child turns 18, they are legally considered an adult, and for the majority of parents, this means they can file a motion to stop paying child support for their adult offspring. However, because a lot of teenagers are still in high school while they are 18, the court will often delay the end of support payments until the child either completes high school or turns 20 - whichever comes first.
However, it's important to check your original divorce agreement or court order as many parents will agree to continue paying child support after the age of 18, especially if the child is staying home while going to college or the child is disabled or has special needs. In this case, a signed contract will supersede the law and support payments will continue to be enforced.
What Factors Determine When I Can Stop Paying Child Support?
In addition to turning 18 and finishing high school, there are factors that may occur in which a parent can file a motion to stop paying support. These include:
- The child is a legally emancipated minor
- Your child is no longer living with the parent to whom you pay support
- Your child spends the majority of time living at your house rather the parent to whom you pay support
- You and your child's parent have reconciled and live together
- Your child is married before the age of 18
- Your child has joined the military
Do Payments Automatically Cease?
It's important to note that child support payments don't automatically end when a child turns 18 and graduates high school. You must still continue to make your scheduled support payments or you can face serious legal penalties. Instead, you must file a motion with the court to cease child support payments and bring proof as to the reason for doing so. This proof can include a birth certificate or a high school diploma. Once the motion is granted, a copy needs to be sent to your workplace payroll or human resources department if you have your wages garnished.
Having a child support attorney work with you during this time to file motions on your behalf, send orders to employers, or advocate on your behalf in the event of challenges can improve your outcomes. You can feel confident that motions will be filed correctly and quickly and all avenues will be explored to help you get the best results in your case.
Schedule a Consultation with a Child Support Attorney Today
If your child is nearing 18 or you would like to stop payments now that your child is over 18 and has graduated high school, we can help you file the motion to end child support payments. Our team of child support lawyers will walk you through the process, file on your behalf, and if there are disputes or concerns, we'll advocate for your best outcomes. To learn more or to schedule a consultation, reach out to us today at (919) 301-8843 or fill out the form below to get started.
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