White and White Attorneys at Law
White & White Attorney

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My child turned 18. Can I quit paying child support?

Tennessee parents who pay or receive child support should understand that these payments are not meant to be the sole source of funds for the child’s expenses. Recipient parents usually realize that they, too, must contribute money to ensure that their child has the best possible upbringing.

Support-paying parents might not understand just how large a percentage of their income the recipient parent spends on the child’s clothing, supplies, food, services, medical care and other costs associated with child-rearing. However, it generally takes the combined financial efforts of both parents to cover a child’s expenses.

Parents paying monthly support may long for the day when their child turns 18 so they can quit making those payments. But they could be in for a rude awakening. They may still have to pay for a little while longer.

Under the Tennessee Code, Annotated Section 34-1-102 (b), it states “parents shall continue to be responsible for the support of each child for whom they are responsible after the child reaches eighteen (18) years of age if the child is in high school. The duty of support shall continue until the child graduates from high school or the class of which the child is a member when the child attains eighteen (18) years of age graduates, whichever occurs first.”

In other words, you can’t cut your son or daughter (and their other parent) off on the child’s 18th birthday if they are still enrolled in high school. This is fair when you consider that perhaps otherwise your child might have to drop out of high school in order to support themselves.

If you are unsure whether you need to continue paying child support, a Tennessee family law attorney can review your case and provide advice and direction.