Family support is when the court orders both child and spousal support in a single amount. The court need not specifically label all or any portion of the amount as child support so long as the amount is adjusted to reflect the effect of additional deductibility.
How long is a parent obligated to pay child support?
The parent is generally obligated to pay child support until the child reaches age 18, at which point the duty terminates.
Can a parent be forced to pay child support even if the child is above 18 years old?
Yes. There are several exceptions to the rule that the duty to pay child support terminates when the child reaches 18. The exceptions are:
- When the child is 18 years old, a full-time high school student, not self-support and unmarried. The parent’s obligation to pay support continues until the time the child completes the 12th grade or reaches 19 years of age, whichever occurs first.
- Even if the child is already 19 years old or above, but the parents agrees to provide support beyond this time; or
- The child is incapacitated from earning a living and is without sufficient means.
How will the court compute support for an adult child?
The court may use the Statewide Uniform Guideline to compute support for an adult child who is incapacitated and without sufficient means. The court, however, is not required to strictly adhere to it. It may adapt or depart from the guideline formula as warranted by the circumstances.
Can the court still modify or terminate an existing child support order?
Yes. A court can modify or terminate a child support order as the court determines it to be necessary. The court can increase or decrease the amount of child support.
When can the court modify a child support order?
A material change of circumstances must be shown before a child support order may be modified by the court. In determining a motion to modify child support, the court will apply the Statewide Uniform Guideline.
Is it still necessary to show a change in circumstances if the parties stipulate to a modification of child support?
As a general rule, no. There is no need to prove a change of circumstance if the parties stipulate to a child support order below the guideline amount.
Can the parents be forced to prove a change of circumstances if they want to modify a child support order based on stipulation?
Yes. When the parties have stipulated to a child support order above the guideline amount, a change of circumstances must be shown to obtain a modification of that order to decrease support to or below the applicable guideline amount.
Can the court do retroactive modification of the order?
Yes. The court may make an order modifying or terminating a child support order retroactive to the date on which the notice of motion or order to show cause was filed, or to any subsequent date.
What are the grounds for the court to set aside a support order?
A motion for relief from the child support order may use the following as grounds:
- Actual Fraud
- Lack of Notice
When should the motion for relief be brought?
It must be brought within 6 months after the date on which the party discovered or reasonably should have discovered the ground for relief.
What must be proved before the court will grant the motion for relief?
The court must find that the facts alleged as the grounds for relief materially affected the support order and that the moving party would materially benefit from the granting of relief.