How do I get child support payments stopped for my daughter that is now 18 and has graduated high school? She resides with mom in Illinois where the decree was transferred there in McHenry County. The original decree was filed in Missouri where I and her mom lived.
The duration of your child support obligation is controlled by the law of the state that originally established the support obligation (the “issuing state”). In your case, that state is Missouri.
Under Missouri law, Mo. Rev. Stat. (MRS) § 454.956 (a)
, “The law of the issuing state governs the nature, extent, amount, and DURATION of current payments and other obligations of support and the payment of arrearages under the order.”
As for the “duration” of child support under Missouri law, it goes until age 21 if the child is still going to school. Specifically, MRS § 452.340.5
, provides continuation a child support past age 18, potentially to age 21, for a qualifying child who is pursuing his/her educational endeavors.
In full, Mo. Rev. Stat. § 452.340.5
---> If when a child reaches age eighteen, the child is enrolled in and attending a secondary school program of instruction, the parental support obligation shall continue, if the child continues to attend and progresses toward completion of said program, until the child completes such program or reaches age twenty-one, whichever first occurs. If the child is enrolled in an institution of vocational or higher education not later than October first following graduation from a secondary school or completion of a graduation equivalence degree program and so long as the child enrolls for and completes at least twelve hours of credit each semester, not including the summer semester, at an institution of vocational or higher education and achieves grades sufficient to reenroll at such institution, the parental support obligation shall continue until the child completes his or her education, or until the child reaches the age of twenty-one, whichever first occurs. To remain eligible for such continued parental support, at the beginning of each semester the child shall submit to each parent a transcript or similar official document provided by the institution of vocational or higher education which includes the courses the child is enrolled in and has completed for each term, the grades and credits received for each such course, and an official document from the institution listing the courses which the child is enrolled in for the upcoming term and the number of credits for each such course. When enrolled in at least twelve credit hours, if the child receives failing grades in half or more of his or her courseload in any one semester, payment of child support may be terminated and shall not be eligible for reinstatement. Upon request for notification of the child's grades by the noncustodial parent, the child shall produce the required documents to the noncustodial parent within thirty days of receipt of grades from the education institution. If the child fails to produce the required documents, payment of child support may terminate without the accrual of any child support arrearage and shall not be eligible for reinstatement. If the circumstances of the child manifestly dictate, the court may waive the October first deadline for enrollment required by this subsection. If the child is enrolled in such an institution, the child or parent obligated to pay support may petition the court to amend the order to direct the obligated parent to make the payments directly to the child. As used in this section, an "institution of vocational education" means any postsecondary training or schooling for which the student is assessed a fee and attends classes regularly. "Higher education" means any community college, college, or university at which the child attends classes regularly. A child who has been diagnosed with a developmental disability, as defined in section 630.005, RSMo, or whose physical disability or diagnosed health problem limits the child's ability to carry the number of credit hours prescribed in this subsection, shall remain eligible for child support so long as such child is enrolled in and attending an institution of vocational or higher education, and the child continues to meet the other requirements of this subsection. A child who is employed at least fifteen hours per week during the semester may take as few as nine credit hours per semester and remain eligible for child support so long as all other requirements of this subsection are complied with.
By the way, even if this matter were controlled by Illinois law, support would not necessarily stop at age 18. 750 Ill. Law. Con. Stat. § 5/513
provides that the court may make provisions for the education expenses of the children of the marriage, whether of minor or majority age. Specifies that post-secondary support terminates when the child receives a baccalaureate degree.
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Edited by Maria-moderator on 10/12/2010 at 6:21 PM EST