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Restarting child support after age 18

Started by dad52, Jun 11, 2008, 08:21:52 AM

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dad52

My daughter withdrew from school in her senior year and is now 18. Now I hear she is planning on re-enrolling for the upcoming year in order to finish her last 4 classes. State law where I live says child support continues until child is 18 OR a full time student till age 20. My questions are- is 2 classes each semester considered "full time" and do I begin paying CS when she starts back to school or what?

knoot7

Ask the school what is considered full time, specific hours being there or specific amount of classes. Most schools have this defined. From my memory of high school a million years ago - 2 class was not considered full time. You had to be there for more than 1/2 the day every day. From my recollection of college - 2 classes was not full time - full time was I believe at least 15 credits a semester.

IMHO - she is re-enrolling and has NOT maintained the "full time" status until 20. This is going back so it could very easily be argued that she did not maintain full time student status and therefore would be completely on her own.  If you are required to pay support- =since she is past 18  - the money should go directly to her and not her mother.

dad52

Thanks, I also forgot to mention that after withdrawing from school, she moved out for a short while but is now back living w/ her mother. Because of this I am thinking her mother is going to say I am still obligated to pay CS because my daughter is "still in school" and if I fail to send her CS when school begins, assuming 2 classes are NOT considered full time, then she's going to have a nuclear meltdown and I'll be threatened w/ legal action and expulsion to Mars unless I "pay what I owe" I'm not trying to neglect my responsibility but just want to find out what my responsibility is since this appears to be a "gray area"  

dad52

Thanks, I also forgot to mention that after withdrawing from school, she moved out for a short while but is now back living w/ her mother. Because of this I am thinking her mother is going to say I am still obligated to pay CS because my daughter is "still in school" and if I fail to send her CS when school begins, assuming 2 classes are NOT considered full time, then she's going to have a nuclear meltdown and I'll be threatened w/ legal action and expulsion to Mars unless I "pay what I owe" I'm not trying to neglect my responsibility but just want to find out what my responsibility is since this appears to be a "gray area"  

Kitty C.

I'd be calling the school to ask them if THEY believe she will be a full time student or not.  I think the state would determine what is considered full or part-time from the school directly.

Personally, it sounds like part-time to me.  But if you do, make sure the final word comes from the district itself, and not just the school.  They may also be called to testify to that effect if this makes it to court.  You haven't mentioned if a new CS action has been filed against you, but if not, do NOT volunteer it yourself.  

One other thing to consider is if the child is still living with the CP or is on their own and working to support themselves while still going to school.  There's a possibility that, if this is the case, no CS action can be taken, as the 'child' is considered an adult and emancipated.
Handle every stressful situation like a dog........if you can't play with it or eat it, pee on it and walk away.......

dad52

Thanks again for the info. As of today, there isn't a "new" CO for CS. I'm not even sure my ex is aware a new one might/would be needed to get CS again. I was not aware myself. I'm thinking she's just figuring the old one is/will be in force till my daughter finishes school. My daughter is working part time right now and from what I've been told, she would continue her part time job during school as well. I've been told she plans on taking 2 classes plus a study hall each semester. To me, this sounds like part time schooling but I will get a concrete answer from the school. I'm just wanting to be informed so I don't have to be concerned or worried about any talk/ threats of legal action if I don't "pay up" It's NOT the money but rather the PRINCIPLE.

Kitty C.

If you got notification from the court after she left school the first time that you no longer have to pay CS, then that case is closed.  If the BM wants CS again, SHE will have to file a new petition with the court.

As for her 'having a meltdown' and blasting you to Mars.......let her!  Just because she wants money doesn't mean you have to fork it over to her.  Tell her if she thinks she's 'entitled by law' to get CS again, she will need to go through the court, JUST LIKE BEFORE.  As for your responsibility, the court will decide that.....not you and CERTAINLY not her.  If she wants to go off on you, remind her that it must be determined by the court, based on state law and guidelines, as to whether CS is warranted again.........she just doesn't automatically get it because she 'wants' it.  If she goes off about the previous CS order, remind her again that when your daughter quit school, that case was closed and cannot be 'reactivated'.  

I love it when CP's like your ex use those kind of tactics to get you to capitulate to do what they want.  I swear those women should be hired by the government to fight fire with fire against the countries who try to use the same tactics against us!  Personally, I get a LOT of pleasure shooting them down with reason, because part of their tactic is to get you as emotionally involved as she is acting towards you.  When you take the emotion out of it, give her the 'facts, and throw the ball back in her court, it will take the wind out of her sails!  She may still try blackmail and try to make you feel guilty, but don't fall for it.  It is NOT her or your decision, it is ONLY for the court to decide.
Handle every stressful situation like a dog........if you can't play with it or eat it, pee on it and walk away.......

dad52

Ok, I understand what you're saying so here are the facts as of now.... I have NOT recv'd anything from the courts regarding this so I guess the original CO is in effect? My thinking and understanding is that since my daughter has turned 18 and was withdrawn by her school for attendance problems, therefore no longer making her a student, full time or otherwise, then the original CO is satisfied. My daughter moved out for about 6-7 weeks just a few days before turning 18 but had to return because her living arrangements fell through and her part time job does not pay her enough to afford a place of her own. My divorce decree states that CS stops when the last child turns 18, marries, joins the armed forces, ceases to life w/ the CP, becomes self supporting or otherwise becomes emancipated OR is still in secondary school till age 20 IF a full time student. So, based on that am I right in interpreting that my obligation has been fully satisfied and that even if my daughter does re-enroll, she will still NOT meet the criteria for a full time student therefore making her mother UNable to collect any more CS from me?

MixedBag

because the kids are on a block schedule and take 4 classes a semester.  If they have only 4 to finish during their senior year, they can NOT take all 4 and not go to school in the spring and walk graduation ceremonies -- because walking the ceremony means you were in school full-time the entire year, and by finishing in the fall, and not taking classes in the spring, they weren't enrolled.

(They need 28 out of the available 32 credits to graduate).  They can do early release and take 2 classes each semester during their senior year and be considered "full-time" students.

Just an example.

I agree with the others...

If you have an order that ended your CS obligation, the CP will have to file to get a new order.

HOWEVER, I think a judge would re-open the file and I suggest you set money aside JUST IN CASE, so that by the time it goes to court, an order is signed, it will probably be retroactive at least to the date school started.


knoot7

still the daughter did not maintain full time status...so even if it is currently full time, wouldn't the fact that she left/dropped out negate the original decree anyway? Sort of like a breech of contract - she did not maintain full student status and did not graduate, she left. The agreement ends right there.... going back shouldn't reinstate the original decree shoudl it?

Obviously I am not an attorney but these are points which could be argued very easily....

Let us know what happens!

dad52

As I said earlier, I have NO court order ending the obligation.... is this something I am supposed to procure.... the court is certainly NOT going to issue one w/o somebody asking for it. I just thought it would just end on its on UNLESS it was contested to be continued. I'm no lawyer either and don't have 100's of $$$ to go talk to one right now so I'm trying to get a feeling on where I am legally. Right now it all seems to have come down to what is considered "full time" and I am awaiting a reply from my state board of education to that affect. Any more thoughts???

ocean

You need to file with the court to end it so it really did not end then...You will need to prove that the child was out of the house and not attending HS. I think if BM pushes she will get CS until the child graduates high school. That half time I think meant college classes....not high school. Depends on state...

dad52

I agree w/ you that it seems that the original decree has been satisfied because she has reached the "age of majority" AND she was DISenrolled from school for her attendance problems. Just because she re-enrolls and goes back to school doesn't mean the original decree goes back into effect as though nothing ever happened, at least that's how I'm looking at it. It's kinda like someone saying they're sorry AFTER a crime has been committed... you can be forgiven but that doen't change the fact that the law was broken and therefore justice must be served. And I have already been told by a retired educator from my state that 2 classes and a study hall does NOT a full time student make. Any more thoughts???

dad52

I did not know I had to file to end CS. Proving it will not be too difficult and I have it in writing in my divorce papers that CS continues to age 20 ONLY if the child is a fulltime student.  

leon clugston

She is 18 not a child, 2 hrs do not make full time status, and stopping to later restart does not constitute a continuing full time status

dad52

I could not agree more and I am trying to find out if this is legally true or just a lot of wishful thinking. At least I have it in writing regarding full time status although I'm sure the ex is going to find a way to contest it. I just cannot imagine her just "riding off into the sunset" over this. Somehow, she's got to have the LAST word.    

MixedBag

FULL TIME student status is defined by the school whether college or high school.

Again, in our high school, 2 classes per semester IS considered full-time student status during a student's SENIOR/FINAL year.

Contact the high school.

Now, IF you just quit paying and never received an ORDER stating that you are allowed to quit paying, like someone else said, you're gonna have to PROVE she dropped out of high school, moved out and did all those things that essentially emancipated her, IF CS from that point until the fall school start date comes into question.

BM might not even ASK for it.

IF daughter goes back to high school this fall, IMHO, there's a big chance that yes, you'll have to pay CS again until she graduates -- mainly because it's high school (not college) and because I think you quoted your state's statute as the maximum age is 20.  That already allows for "screw ups" when most kids graduate at 18/19 years old.

So IMHO, I'd lean towards that the court will restart CS effective when she returns to high school.

Again, IMHO....

BTW -- here in Alabama, I didn't have to get an order when either of the girls emancipated.  I was CP, and I simply signed a form down at DHR stating that NCP's obligation was completed -- so essentially, it was the same as a court order, but there was no hearing or anything and he wasn't behind or nothing to argue about.

You should have filed a request or motion for emancipation very soon (like the next day/week) after your daughter dropped out of school and moved out.  But hey, move forward to the issues at hand and IMHO be prepared to pay for next year.

Davy


Ok Dad maybe it's time to think outside the box but only you know your daughter her history her desires and capabilities.

Is a GED a possibility followed by junior college or a training program while working part time ?

Perhaps you could use this opportunity to teach her to budget, balance a check book, etc and how to control her own life and destiny to become independent.  That is what most young people really want at this stage in life.  You are no doubt the best fit to guide and counsel her.

Think about writing a monthly check to her for a couple of years with the word 'support' in the comment section to help her get a leg up in life.  Even better if she would return half of it (in cash) when she collects the other half from her mother and that way the mother can get off the gravy train and put her money where her mouth is.  I have yet to see a young lady turn down money !!!!

It seems to me your daughter would have a true 'child support' plan for a change where both parents are participating and encouraging.  

leon clugston

if all else fails, file a Writ of Mandamus into federal court,,,,,its a command that they follow there own regs, laws and procedures,,,it levels the playing field and gets rid of interpretive regs.

ocean

does not matter here...law is 21 or 22 if full-time student...

leon clugston

Kinda contradicts all other laws though doesn't it.? A child who is no longer a child at the age of 18 can tell you to get bent, can vote, can serve in the military, can move out, can get a license without youre consent and can be convicted as a adult,,,,and yet here we have the state claiming  you have to be responsible for there monetary needs if the state opts to demand you pay support a benefit by deffinition, a debt that the state creates against you....sounds slightly ambiguous and shows no true state compelling enterest....might add though it doesn't comply with the terms set out in the federal register.
However its his game so he alone has to figure out how he wishes to proceed, but either way, people have the right to know where they realy stand..

Kitty C.

All of this is well and good, but it doesn't change the fact that if the BM wants to get CS again, SHE has to be the one to file for it.  I agree that you do need to do your research and find out about the legalities of the previous CS order and what the school considers full or part time.

But I also agree with a previous poster in that it would be a good idea to set aside money just in case she does decide to refile for CS.  Either way, you'll need it for legal representation at the least and CS if the court decides against you.
Handle every stressful situation like a dog........if you can't play with it or eat it, pee on it and walk away.......