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Brandon M.
Brandon M., Family Law Attorney
Category: Family Law
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question is about stopping child support. The child is now

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question is about stopping child support. The child is now 18, but did not graduate high school due to lack of credits. Divorce degrre stated child support to be paid until 18 and finish high school. How can it be stopped if he is not going to school to finish. Should I still be responsiable if he might never finish school?Also divorce done in Washington and he lives in Texas with his mother.
Submitted: 6 years ago.
Category: Family Law
Expert:  Brandon M. replied 6 years ago.
Hello there:

With a Washington state child support order, the order will terminate when the child reaches the age of 18, or up to the age of 19 if the child is still attending high school. Although it is possible for support to continue beyond 19 if it goes toward college educational expenses, it must be explicitly ordered to do so. Although I can't interpret an entire order based on a single clause, I see nothing in the clause that mentions college expenses and we already discussed that it can't otherwise be ordered past 19, so the options for interpretation are extremely limited. You may want to file a motion for clarification with the court because that clause is so poorly worded, but "no", support cannot continue for a child past age 19 in Washington simply because the child does not graduate high school.

I hope that this helps you to understand the law in your situation. Let me know if I may be of further assistance. Thank you.
Customer: replied 6 years ago.
court order states"age 18 or as long as enrolled in high school" what does this mean if he doesn't graduate or complete credits to graduate.He could enroll every year but not attend or finish so how long will I have to pay support if this happens, and who do I contact to file the motion and do I have to use a lawyer for that i have limited funds as I'm a diaabled vet living off retirment.
Expert:  Brandon M. replied 6 years ago.
An order that permits child support to continue for a child past the age of 19 who is enrolled in high school is not legal under Washington state law. It is incorret to assume that the order, as written, trumps the laws of the state. That is not correct.

It is your choice how to proceed, but a motion for clarification or even a motion to modify support would address a deficiency like the one you are describing. Whether to use an attorney is up to you, but most people would just visit the family law division of the court and ask the clerk for the proper forms. I hope that this helps.
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