What You Should Know About Post-Majority Child Support in Michigan

When children are minors, which is to say, under the age of 18, parents are responsible for their care, and this means providing for material needs such as food, clothing, medical care, and so on. Just because parents get a divorce doesn’t mean they aren’t both still legally obligated to financially provide for these basic needs.

Following divorce proceedings, many parents will enter into custody arrangements, which could include child support payments. Generally speaking, court ordered child support remains in effect until the child or children in question legally enter adulthood, at the age of 18. However, child support could also be extended beyond the age of 18 in certain circumstances.

This is known as post-majority child support (as in, child support continues even though the child is no longer a minor). What is post-majority child support? How does it work? Here’s what parents need to know.

What is Post-Majority Child Support?
In certain cases, courts may rule that a parent paying child support must continue to do so after the age of 18, but no later than the age of 19½. However, there are specific criteria involved.

Child support payments in Michigan can be ordered until the child is 18, or until he/she graduates from high school, whichever occurs later. That said, post-majority child support payments are only ordered in cases where a child is still in high school after the age of 18 (but before the age of 19½), is expected to graduate, and still lives with a custodial parent receiving child support.

Lee v Smith
This case, decided by the Michigan Court of Appeals on May 19, 2015, held that the child in question was eligible to continue receiving child support even after the age of majority (18 years old) because he was enrolled as a full-time student at an accredited high school, he was taking sufficient credits to graduate, and he still lived with the party receiving child support on a full-time basis.

The Court of Appeals held that this was in keeping with MCL 552.605b, which allows for post-majority child support until a child reaches the age of 19 years and 6 months, provided certain circumstances are met (as noted above).

Does Post-Majority Child Support Include College Expenses?
While many parents decide to bear some of the financial burden of sending their kids to college, child support laws do not require them to do so. Parents may agree on their own to split costs, and may even enter into a legal agreement to do so, but when a child reaches the age of majority, financial obligations end (unless a court orders post-majority child support, which does not extend to the cost of college anyway).

Post-majority child support is also not ordered in cases of children that cannot support themselves, or that have disabilities that require ongoing care past the age of 18, although custodial parents may be able to continue receiving some financial assistance via court ordered alimony payments.

Michigan residents involved in post-majority child support disputes should speak with an experienced lawyer from The Gucciardo Law Firm. Contact us today at 248-723-5190.

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