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When Does Child Support End?

Child support can be ordered through the court system in Michigan under many different circumstances, and through many different cases involving minor children, whether it be child support, paternity, custody, legal separation or divorce.  The Michigan Court of Appeals recently issued a published opinion on November 10, 2016 addressing this question:  After a child has turned 18, under what circumstances is a parent required to continue to pay child support when he or she has shared custody of that child?  The case is Weaver vs. Giffels, Michigan Court of Appeals November 10, 2016, Docket No. 327844. 

In general, child support ends at age 18.  But it is possible for child support to extend beyond age 18 if the child is still attending high school on a full-time basis and has a reasonable likelihood of graduating by age 19 and 6 months.  The child must also be residing with the parent receiving child support on a full-time basis.  Two major events are normally at play here. A child attaining the age of majority, age 18, is one milestone.  The second major event is graduating from high school. 

Here are two typical scenarios near termination date of child support.  First, a child can graduate from high school prior to turning 18.  In that scenario, the person paying child support is required to continue to pay child support until the child’s 18th birthday.  The second scenario is a child who turns 18 and is still attending high school.  In this case, the 18th birthday would come and go, but one parent is still required to pay child support so long as the child is attending high school full time, taking credits sufficient to graduate by age 19 and 6 months, and living with the parent receiving child support on a full-time basis. 

The issue in Weaver vs. Giffels is whether the payer of child support (the father in this case) is required to continue to pay child support after the child turns 18, and is still attending high school, but is not living with the mother “full time” because they have a shared custody arrangement (three days per week with the father and four days with the mother).  The child, therefore, would seem to not be living with the mother “full time,” because the father has a substantial amount of time with the child.  The Court of Appeals decided that it needed more facts to decide this case because the answer depends on where the child “resides” under the legal definition of that word. 

Likewise, evolving forms of high school education such as online programs, home schooling and combined high school/college programs raise interesting issues when a child hasn’t graduated by age 18. 

The Michigan Child Support formula is quite complex, and child support can at times cause confusion.  If you need help cutting through the confusion and want expert advice from experienced attorneys, call A.D.A.M. today at (248) 327-0050.

About ADAM (American Divorce Association for Men)

The American Divorce Association for Men (ADAM) is a group of highly qualified attorneys who advocate for men’s rights in divorce, child custody and parenting time, paternity, support, property settlement, post judgment modifications, and other family law matters. Since 1988, ADAM has been aggressive, diligent, and uncompromising when representing their clients. A team of compassionate and skilled family law attorneys, ADAM is dedicated to being Michigan’s leading divorce lawyers for men and family law firm.

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