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Rech Law, P.C. Rech Law, P.C.
Charlotte 704-659-0007 Monroe 704-228-4488 Cornelius 704-228-2790

When Can I Stop Paying Child Support in North Carolina?


Each parent is obligated to support their minor children. When parents file for divorce and no longer live together, the custodial parent (i.e., who the child primarily resides with) has the right to request child support from the other parent. 

However, the monthly child support payments noncustodial parents must make—year after year—can be quite the financial burden. Many of them wonder when their child support obligation will end. 

When Can I Terminate My Child Support Obligation? 

In North Carolina, parents may request the court to terminate child support payments when the child is 18 years old. But if the child is still in high school, then child support may continue until he/she graduates. Alas, if the child stops attending school regularly or flunks out entirely, payments must stop when he/she is 20. 

Can Child Support Payments Continue After a Child Turns 20? 

Although the court cannot order a parent to fund a child’s college education and expenses, if both parents agree to continue child support payments until the child graduates college or any other form of higher education in a consent order or separation agreement, then the court will enforce that agreement. 

Similarly, if a child has special needs and is unable to independently support himself/herself when he/she reaches adulthood, the court will enforce an agreement made by both parents to support the child indefinitely. 

Can Child Support Payments Stop Before a Child Reaches 18? 

The following are several circumstances in which child support payments can end before a child turns 18 years old: 

  • The child gets married 

  • The child becomes legally emancipated 

  • The child moves in with the noncustodial parent 

  • The child enlists in the United States military 

  • The child is deported 

  • The child passes away 

  • The custodial parent agrees to terminate support 

Do Child Support Payments Automatically End? 

No. When your child reaches 18 or graduates high school, you must file a “motion to terminate child support” with the appropriate court. You will also be required to attend a court hearing and prove why your child support obligation should end. Until a paying parent obtains an order to terminate child support and the order is properly served, child support payments will continue to be collected. 

If you wish to modify or terminate child support in Charlotte, call Rech Law, P.C. at (704) 659-0007 or fill out our online contact form today to schedule an initial consultation. Providing compassionate and personalized legal representation for various family law matters. 

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