Termination of Child Support

child support agreement & gavel

In North Carolina, parents have a duty to provide support for their children. However, when child support payments are ordered, the non-custodial parent often wants to know when those payments will end. Under the North Carolina Statute, the support of a child shall terminate when the child reaches the age of 18 except where:

  1. The child is already emancipated;
  2. The child is still in primary or secondary school when he reaches 18 years of age, child support payments shall continue until the child graduates, otherwise, the child stops attending school regularly, fails to make satisfactory academic progress towards graduation, or reaches age 20, whichever comes first, unless the court in its discretion orders the payments to stop at age 18 or prior to high school graduation;
  3. The child is enrolled in a cooperative high school program, the support 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;
  4. The child dies;
  5. The non-custodial, supporting parent dies;
  6. There is a change in custody between the custodial and non-custodial parents; or
  7. The child is mentally or physically incapable of self-support upon reaching 18 years of age, the support obligation continues the same as for a child for so long as such child remains mentally or physically incapable of self-support.

In the case that multiple children are supported by court-ordered payments, then the termination of support for one child does not terminate the support for the remaining children. Additionally, when a child meets the criteria that qualify for termination, that does not mean payments should cease. A motion to terminate child support must be filed and heard before a judge. A judge must be the one to end the support determined by the original child support order. If payments stop before termination is ordered, the individual could be held in contempt for failure to pay.

If you think your child support payments qualify for termination, then contact Jetton & Meredith today to set up a consultation with one of our experienced family law attorneys.