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Under Maryland family laws, both parents have a legal obligation to pay financial support for their children based upon the ability to provide it. State laws apply an “income shares” formula for purposes of calculating the amount, and the details are included in the schedule of basic child support. However, for both the paying parent and recipient, there is another crucial factor. When the child support ends and how long the obligation lasts.
You know that a person reaches the age of majority and is considered an adult upon turning 18 years old. But age is not the only consideration. With either divorce or paternity proceedings, child support is governed by additional rules – many of which can be confusing or come as a surprise to parents. An Owings Mills child support attorney can explain how the laws apply to your situation, but it is also useful to debunk a few myths about when child support ends in Maryland.
Myth #1: Child support ends when the child turns 18 years old.
It stands to reason to assume that child support is for children, but the obligation could extend beyond the 18th birthday IF the child is still enrolled in high school. This scenario will typically require the payor to continue with child support for just a few months. Once the 18-year-old child graduates.
On a related note, the parents of an adult child with physical or mental disabilities will still have the obligation to provide food, shelter, and care.
Myth #2: I cannot be forced to pay support after the child leaves high school.
By statute, a payor is not obligated after the adult child graduates; however, Maryland family laws allow parties in divorce or paternity cases to agree on aspects of child support. Many parents look forward to sending their children to college. They will often enter into an agreement regarding payment for secondary education. The agreement becomes part of a binding court order, so one or both parents may be obligated for these costs.
Myth #3: There is a child support obligation for emancipated minors.
It is also a misconception that child support could end EARLY in certain situations. A child may become emancipated before turning 18 years old,. This means that he or she is an adult in the eyes of the law. Parents no longer have an obligation to provide care and support for an emancipated minor.
Myth #4: Parents can end child support by agreement.
Being a binding order, you need permission from the court to terminate child support. The payor cannot stop paying, even if the recipient agrees.
Speak to a Baltimore County Child Support Lawyer for Details
As you can see from the above information, there are situations in which the child support obligation may not stop exactly on the child’s 18th birthday. Whether you are the payor or recipient, you can trust our team at the Law Office of William F. Mulroney to protect your rights. To learn more, please call (443) 352-8433 or go online to schedule a free consultation.