In Maryland, the United States of America, child support payments do not necessarily end when the child reaches the age of 18. Parents have an obligatory duty to pay child support until the child reaches the age of emancipation. According to Maryland law, child support payments only terminate when the child reaches 18 if he or she has graduated high school by that time.
In the case that the child turns 18 before his or her high school graduation then child support payments are extended until the child graduates from high school or until the child reaches the age of 19, which ever event occurs first. Parents are not legally obligated to pay for the Child’s post-high school education such as college fees unless both parents have agreed to do so in a martial settlement agreement. Despite Maryland’s attempts to pass two bills in 2011 and 2012 which stated that parents had to pay child support if the child decides to attend college until the age of 21 and that parents should contribute to educational costs. These two bills did not pass and as of 2012, Maryland courts can only order child support to be paid until the age of emancipation.
Child support payments in Maryland are usually until the child becomes 18. However, there are exceptions to this. When the child reaches the age of 18 and (1) is still enrolled in high school and has not graduated yet, (2) is not self-supporting, (3) and is still living in the home of the parent(s) paying for the child support. In any of these cases child support will continue to be paid until the child turns 19 or until the child graduates high school, whichever event comes first.
There are special circumstances in which child support payments will have to exceed past the child’s 18th birthday or high school graduation. If the child is severally physically or mentally ill and does not have the ability to support themselves then the parent’s legal obligation to support the child may continue for the remainder of the childs life or for as long as the child needs the parents support.
In Maryland, there are also special circumstances in which child support payments can be terminated before the child’s 18th birthday or high school graduation. For example, the child may make the decision of joining the military before his or her high school graduation. In this case parents do not have any further legal obligation to continue supporting the child and may file a motion to terminate their child support payments. Also a parent can file to end child support payments before the child’s 18th birthday if he or she has left the residence of the custodial parent’s household. The child may make a decision to leave in order to get married or to live on their own. In the case that the custodial parent agrees to this then the other
parent may file for a motion to terminate child support payments.
However, in Maryland when child support does end any arears with it do not disappear. If a parent owes any arears then he or she will have to continue paying them even past the termination of child support. Closing the case will not terminate any arears that have occurred under the child support order.
If you need a Maryland Child Support lawyer to help you with your Child Support case in Maryland, call us at 888-437-7747. Our Maryland Child Support attorneys can help you.