How do I Stop Paying Child Support in North Carolina?
As a parent, it is only natural to feel a sense of responsibility as your child grows older. Child support ensures that you continue to care for your child financially, even if you and your spouse are no longer living together in Charlotte. For the most part, child support payments ensure that each parent is doing their fair share to provide for the child.
That being said, child support payments cannot continue indefinitely. There may come a time in your life when you begin to ask yourself when these payments stop. In many cases, child support payments can be financially crippling, and it makes sense to figure out how you can cease these payments when the time comes.Here is When You can Stop Paying Child Support
First of all, it is important to understand that you do not get to decide when to stop paying child support payments. North Carolina law has laid out the various circumstances when child support payments stop.
In most cases, you can stop paying child support when your child reaches the age of 18 or when they graduate high school, whichever takes longer to complete. For example, you could technically continue to pay child support payments if your child struggles to complete high school and graduates at age 20. At any rate, payments must always stop when your child reaches the age of 20, whether they have graduated or not.
On the other hand, you could stop paying child support for a wide range of additional reasons:
- Your child has stopped living with the parent who is receiving your child support payments
- Your child now lives with you for the majority of the time
- You have reconciled with your former spouse and you’re now living together with your child
- You discover that the child is not biologically related to you
- Your child has been deported
- Your former spouse agrees to stop receiving the child support payments
Child support payments also stop if your child has become emancipated. This happens automatically if they get married or become enlisted in the military. Alternatively, they can file an emancipation petition themselves at age 16 or 17. However, this is not a straightforward process and your child will probably need to hire an attorney who is experienced in these matters.College Expenses
In certain cases, you may continue to provide financial support after your child has graduated from high school. As part of your separation agreement, the Mecklenburg County Family Court may enforce the continued payment of college expenses. If you fail to pay these expenses, your child could sue you after turning 18.How do I Stop Paying Child Support?
The first thing you need to understand is that you cannot simply quit paying your child support out of the blue, even if your child has been deported or you have discovered that you are not biologically related. If you stop paying child support without going through the Family Court with jurisdiction over your case, you could face serious penalties.
The best way forward is to hire a qualified attorney with experience in family law. An attorney can look into the factors surrounding your child support payments and search for any reasons why the cessation of these payments might be legally justified.
For example, you may know that your child is not related to you, but you might not be sure about how to prove it in a court of law. Or perhaps your child has enlisted in the military, but your former spouse continues to receive your payments anyway. Whatever the circumstances may be, a qualified attorney can help you show the court that you are no longer liable for these payments.Modifying Your Child Support Payments
If you are not able to stop your child support payments altogether, you can still modify them. There are several reasons why modifying your child support payments may be justified:
- You lost your job or you are earning significantly less (and not by choice)
- Your child now has new expenses, such as medical or educational fees
- Your child is now receiving public assistance, such as welfare payments
- Your child is now living with you
Once again, it is absolutely essential to hire a qualified attorney if you are trying to modify your child support payments. In order to achieve a favorable outcome, you will need to prove that these modifications are actually justified. Your attorney can help prove to the court that circumstances have changed significantly since you agreed to the initial child support plan.Taking the Next Steps
At Arnold & Smith, PLLC, we understand that sometimes the financial burden placed on non-custodial parents is unreasonable. Call us at 704.370.2828 or contact us here to schedule a consultation at one of our offices located in Charlotte, Monroe and Mooresville. We can help you modify or end your child support payments so you can move forward in a fair, justified manner.