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Guru_Guy
Guru_Guy, Lawyer (JD)
Category: Legal
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Experience:  My specialties include Civil Rights and Constitutional law, as well as general practice issues.
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If child turns 18 and still not graduated from high shool ...

Resolved Question:

If child turns 18 and still not graduated from high shool and is 2 years behind is there a statute of limitation
Submitted: 7 years ago.
Category: Legal
Expert:  Guru_Guy replied 7 years ago.
Hello,

If a student has not yet graduated from high school, the district has a duty to continue to provide education until he/she turns 21 or graduates:

"It shall be the duty of the school board to provide, at district expense, elementary and secondary education to all pupils who reside in the district until such time as the pupil has acquired a high school diploma or has reached age 21, whichever occurs first."

New Hampshire Revised Statutes Title 15, Chap. 189, Sec. 1-A.

You may view the law online here:

http://www.gencourt.state.nh.us/rsa/html/xv/189/189-mrg.htm

I hope this helps!
Customer: replied 7 years ago.
Reply to Guru_Guy's Post: Child is a resident of VT not NH
Customer: replied 7 years ago.
I should have been more clear, I apologize. Child is resident VT and child support law is 18 or graduated from HS whichever the latter. Said child turns 18 in May. She should have graduated in 2006 but had to repeat 8th grade because mother pulled her out of school to home school and she did not completed the home schooling course. Then she was suppose to graduate this year (2007) but took the first semester "off" (4 months no school) no she is not expected to graduate until 2008. Is there a statute of limitations on this...it could go on forever. Thanks in advance for your help-
Customer: replied 7 years ago.
Relist: No answer yet.
Customer: replied 7 years ago.
Relist: No answer yet.
Expert:  Guru_Guy replied 7 years ago.
Hello again,

Unfortunately, Vermont's law is considerably less straightforward than New Hampshire's.

Vermont Statutes Title 16 covers education. Chap. 21, Sec. 828 indicates that a school district may not deny support to a high school student on the basis of age.

http://www.leg.state.vt.us/statutes/fullsection.cfm?Title=16&Chapter=021&Section=00828

However, Sec. 822 of the code only seems to ruquire districts to provide eduction for at least four years beyond elementary school (8th grade).

http://www.leg.state.vt.us/statutes/fullsection.cfm?Title=16&Chapter=021&Section=00822

It is not clear from that whether there is a continuing requirement on the district if the child fails to complete the four grades within the standard four years.

According to the Vermont Parent Information Center, special education students are entitled to assistance through age 21.

The Statute appears to indicate a continuing requirement on the State until the child graduates, regardless of age. However, since this is not explicit in the code, you may want to contact the Vermont Parent Informaiton Center directly since they should have more specific guidence:

http://www.vtpic.com/contact.html

However, the rules on residency make very clear that children ages 18 or older are entitled to attend public school since residency requirements no longer require parental residency at age 18 to attend school.

I hope this helps!
Customer: replied 7 years ago.
Reply to Guru_Guy's Post: Thank you very much for you answer but maybe I am not explaining myself well enough so I will try again. I currently pay child support for my child (who resides in vermont) Now child support payments are to stop once child turns 18 or graduates from high school which ever the latter per Vermont law. My child will turn 18 in May of 2007, she should have graduated last year (2006) which he didn't because she had to repeat 8th grade which put her back 1 year. I undertand that even if she did graduate I would have still had to pay child support to May 2007 when she turns 18. We were under the assumption that she would be graduating this year (2007) our I would no longer be required to pay child support, under Vermont law. I recently found out that my child did not attend the fist semester of school (missed 4 months) so she will not have enough credits to graduate this year and now are being told she is on track to graduate in 2008. So what happens if she doesn't have enough credits in 2008 and it get pushed to 2009 ect...when does the obligation for child support end? She could technically never graduate. I hope that this explains things better. More of a child support question then what the school district is obligations to provide education.

Thank you very much in advance
Customer: replied 7 years ago.
Relist: No answer yet.
Customer: replied 7 years ago.
Relist: I still need help.
Expert:  Guru_Guy replied 7 years ago.
Sorry for the delay in getting back to you. I went out to lunch.

Ok, the support question should be easier to answer. I take it the child support order was originally implemented in Vermont, is that correct? If not, what State originally created the support order?
Customer: replied 7 years ago.
Reply to Guru_Guy's Post: No problem, yes it was instituted in Vermont
Expert:  Guru_Guy replied 7 years ago.
You are correct that Vermont Statutes say that you must continue support "until the child attains the age of majority [18] or terminates secondary education, whichever is later." Most states put a cap on that age such as 19, 20, or 21, to prevent the "endless student" issue that you seem to be facing. But Vermont does not. There is no upper limit.

Title 15, Chap. 11, Sec. 658

The Vermont Supreme Court seems to have taken the statute even to a greater extreme, holding that even if a child temporarily suspends going to high school, that payments must continue as long as the child intends to return to school. Morancy v. Morancy, 173 Vt. 609 (2001).

However, there is also another case that says it is within the discretion of the Court to terminate support after age 18 even if the child has not yet completed high school. Osborn v. Osborn, 147 Vt. 432 (1986).

So while I am not allowed to give direct legal advice in this forum, it appears from everything I can find that you are probably on the hook for support until graduation, however long that takes, as long as the student is continuing to work toward graduation. If it goes on for several years and still appears that the child is not making progress, you could seek to have the court use its discretion to end support.

I hope this helps!
Guru_Guy, Lawyer (JD)
Category: Legal
Satisfied Customers: 2418
Experience: My specialties include Civil Rights and Constitutional law, as well as general practice issues.
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