Child Support for Adult Children

Child Support for Adult Children

When it comes to child support there are many laws outlining how it should be dispersed, when it is applicable, and how much it should be given. During a recent case in the Michigan Court of Appeals, Lee v Smith, an interesting law was discussed. The issue around the law was how the defendant was interpreting one of the subsections. The interesting part about the case is that it involved child support for a child over the age of 18. For many the idea of paying child support for anyone over the age of 18 seems unnecessary, because they are legally an adult. However, the law explains in which cases this is not true.

In the case of Lee v Smith, the subsections that come into question are MCL 552.605b(2) which is part of the Support and Parenting Time Enforcement Act (SPTEA), MCL 552.601 et seq., it was this subsection of the SPTEA that authorized the child support. This subsection states that the court may order support so long as the child is attending high school full-time and is going to graduate in a reasonable amount of time. Also the student must reside with the recipient or at an institution. Finally it also states after the age of 19 years and 6 months, the child is no longer eligible for child support under that statute (552.601 et seq.). Smith’s claim, was that subsection (5) of MCL 552.605b applied to or precludes a court from forcing child support based on subsection (2). Subsection (5) states that the parties must have an agreement for post-majority child support. The court ruled in favor of the plaintiff. Stating that if subsection (5) was viewed as a limitation on subsection (2), there would be no point in having subsection (2). The reason being what was trying to be argued in this case, that there needed to be a prior agreement. As such the child support order was affirmed by the Michigan Court of Appeals.

There are two major points from this case that can be applied to many receivers of child support. The first from subsection (2), if their child turns 18 and the child is still enrolled full time in school and will graduate in a reasonable amount of time, then they are eligible for child support. Until the child turns 19 years and 6 months old and if the child is living with the recipient of the support or at an institution. The second interesting part of this act comes from subsection (5). It details post-majority child support that falls outside of that in subsection (2). In the example from the case, an agreement to help cover college expenses would be covered under subsection (5). Also, subsection (5) covers agreements that extend past the 19 years and 6 months restriction set on subsection (2).

If you have questions about the child support you receive or are paying, contact a reputable local Family Law attorney.

Image from Kalamazoo Public Schools.