Child support doesn’t last forever. At some point, the obligation on the paying parent will come to an end. If a parent relies on child support, he or she needs to understand what causes child support to end. On the other hand, a paying parent has the right to end the payments when it’s no longer legally required. Whichever side of the ledger you are on, an experienced Greenville, SC child support attorney can help.
Child support typically ends when a child reaches the age of 18 or graduates from high school. But it is not always as simple as turning 18. If a child is still in high school after turning 18, the obligation continues until graduation or age 19.
Your divorce decree will outline the paying parent’s child support obligation, and you should always follow those terms. If you don’t understand the order, ask a Greenville, SC child support attorney. Some parents agree to pay child support long after age 18 and into college. A court may extend the child support obligation past age 18 if the child is disabled or has special needs. If you have an order that requires this, you will need to continue following it to avoid contempt.
There are some circumstances under which a child support obligation will end before the child turns 18. These are cases in which the child is considered emancipated. A child that has been emancipated is considered self-supporting and no longer in need of support. In Greenville, SC, these are the scenarios under which a child may be emancipated:
Marriage. A child as young as 16 can be married in South Carolina if at least one parent or guardian consents.
Moving away from home. If the child moves out and becomes self-sufficient, he or she may be declared emancipated.
Military. A child can join the military at age 17 provided he or she has parental consent.
Any of the above three will not necessarily terminate the child support obligation automatically. Depending on how the support is paid, you may need to file a termination action in court. Ask a qualified Greenville, SC child support attorney to make sure your responsibility is ended in the correct way.
Some parents pay child support directly to the other parent. The paying parent can usually stop making those payments when the obligation ends. Be careful not to terminate the payments too soon, and that you support any other children you’re required to support. On the other hand, if you pay through the clerk of court, you may need to file a termination motion. The matter becomes more complicated if you have other children that are still minors. A Greenville, SC family law attorney can explain the necessary procedures to end child support in your case.
If you have child support payments deducted from your paycheck, you will need to take action to end those payments. Otherwise, they may still come out after your obligation ends. Also, if you are the receiving parent, be mindful of any child support arrears the other parent may owe. That could affect the other parent’s obligation or require further court action.
Let a Greenville, SC Child Support Attorney Help You
Child support rules are complicated, and some parents mistakenly believe they can act on their own. This is especially true when it comes to terminating the support obligation. It’s a good idea to review your child support with an experienced attorney to make sure you’re fulfilling your duties. Conversely, receiving parents need to make sure they get the payments to which they are entitled. Greenville Family Law can help, whether you are the paying or receiving parent. Give us a call today to talk about your case.