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 minor reaches 18 if he or she has graduated high school by that time.
In the case that the minor turns 18 before his or her high school graduation then juvenile maintenance payments are extended until the child graduates from high school or until the minor reaches the age of 19, which ever event occurs first. Parents are not legally obligated to pay for the minor’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 minor 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 juvenile maintenance to be paid until the age of emancipation.
Child support payments in Maryland are usually until the minor 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 caretaker(s) paying for the kiddie maintenance. In any of these cases juvenile maintenance will continue to be paid until the kiddie turns 19 or until the kiddie graduates high school, whichever event comes first.
There are special circumstances in which juvenile maintenance payments will have to exceed past the minor’s 18th birthday or high school graduation. If the kiddie is severally physically or mentally ill and does not have the ability to support themselves then the parent’s legal obligation to support the minor may continue for the remainder of the minors life or for as long as the minor needs the parents support.
In Maryland, there are also special circumstances in which juvenile maintenance payments can be terminated before the juvenile’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 juvenile maintenance payments. Also a parent can file to end minor maintenance payments before the juvenile’s 18th birthday if he or she has left the residence of the custodial parent’s household. The minor 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 juvenile maintenance payments.
However, in Maryland when juvenile maintenance 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 juvenile maintenance. Closing the case will not terminate any arears that have occurred under the juvenile maintenance order.