When does child support end?
Child support typically ends when the child turns 18 years old and graduates from high school. If the child turns 18 years old before school ends in June, child support continues until the end of June. Many Courts and the Friend of the Court require that support be paid through the end of the month to avoid prorated credits. Child support may continue until the child is 19 ½ if still attending high school.
Michigan Compiled Law - MCL 552.605b states that “The court may order child support for the time a child is regularly attending high school on a full-time basis with a reasonable expectation of completing sufficient credits to graduate from high school while residing on a full-time basis with the recipient of support or at an institution, but in no case after the child reaches 19 years and 6 months of age.”
The Court of Appeals decided the published case of Weaver v. Giffels (Docket No. 327844) on November 10, 2016. In this case, Mr. Giffels disputed the continued child support payment for his daughter who was eighteen years old but still in high school full-time. The daughter resided with both parents on an alternating shared physical custody basis with approximately 3 days every week at her father’s home. The Appeals Court agreed with Mr. Giffels and held that child support terminated after the child’s 18th birthday based on the shared parenting time arrangement. The case was reversed and remanded to the trial court to determine whether the child resided on a "full-time basis" with Defendant. This is a published case which means that the Appeal Court’s ruling is binding on all lower courts.
Note: The Defendant mother argued that because Plaintiff father had paid the child support as required by the contested order, the appeal was moot. The Court of Appeals specifically held to the contrary in Dean v. Dean, 175 Mich.App 714, 722; 438 NW2d 355 (1989).
10-Year Period for Enforcement of Child Support
The case of Parks v Niemiec, 325 Mich App 717 (2018) reinforces the 10-year limitations period for enforcement of child support that starts to run from the time the last support payment is due, typically around the 18th birthday or end of the senior year of high school. The court of appeals held that “the trial court continued to exercise jurisdiction by entering orders for Niemiec to show cause for failure to pay support, issuing multiple bench warrants and enforcement orders, and temporarily suspending Niemiec’s support obligation beginning in June 2007 while he was in prison.” This case helps signify that the statute of limitations may be properly extended through requests for enforcement with guidance from the Friend of the Court.