Once a child turns 18 or graduates high school, whichever occurs later, child support will cease for that child. There are a number of issues that may arise depending on which side of child support you are, the payee or the payor. If you are the payee, you may have back support owing that you are still entitled to recover. If you are the payor, then you will want to make sure the child support, particularly where there is wage withholding, ceases as it should.
Back Child Support Must Still be Paid After the Child Reaches 18 Years of Age
There are many occasions where there is enormous back support owing at the time that the child support obligation ceases. It is extremely important that the custodial parent protect the judgment against lapse.
If the custodial parent has never moved for child support, the adult child may bring his or her own action for child support. The law states that the support belongs to the child. This is often a surprise to both the child and the non-custodial parent who thinks they have successfully dodged support for 18 years.
In order to protect the adult child’s right to this support, an action must be brought soon after the child turns 18. It is important that the child contact an attorney as soon as possible after he or she turns 18 to preserve their rights to what could be a very large amount of money.
A Motion to Cease Wage Withholding May be Necessary for the Paying Parent
The law requires that child support cease once the child is 18 or has graduated high school. However, it is not at all uncommon that wage withholding continues after this date.
Many times, it is possible to simply contact Child Support Enforcement Division and they will cease the withholding. However, there are times when this does not work for any number of reasons. In these cases, it may be necessary to file a Motion and Request a hearing.
Once the hearing is held, you have a right to reimbursement for any over-payments made due to continuing wage withholding. It is important to ask so that the judge will address it. The judge likely will not bring the issue up on his or her own. It is your responsibility to bring up any issues that need to be addressed by the court, and these should be addressed in the Motion.
An Attorney is Not Required
It may very well be that you neither lack the resources nor the inclination to pay an attorney for this. If you are on the receiving side of child support, you should be sure to open a file with Child Support Enforcement. If you are on the paying side, there are a variety of pro se resources available through the courts that will allow you to file your Motion on your own.
On the other hand, an experienced attorney can be helpful in avoiding any pitfalls of which there are always many when it comes to family law issues.