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Legal Information: North Carolina

Child Support

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Laws current as of December 22, 2023

How long are child support payments made? Until my child reaches what age?

Court-ordered child support payments usually end when the child reaches the age of 18 except if any of the following apply:

  1. if the child is emancipated, child support payments will end on the emancipation date;
  2. if the child is still in school when s/he turns 18, support payments may continue until the child:

a. graduates,
b. stops regularly attending school,
c. fails to progress towards graduation, or
d. reaches age 20 - whichever of these comes first.1

Note: In section “a” or “c” above, when the child support is paid until the child graduates from high school or when s/he reaches 20 years of age, the person responsible for paying child support does not have to file a motion to ask the court to end the child support order.1

If the noncustodial parent’s obligation to pay child support ends due to the one of the reasons listed above, s/he is still responsible to pay any past child support owed (called “arrearages”) that built up during the time the child support order was in effect. The child support payments should continue to be paid as set out in the court order until all arrearages and fees are paid, unless the judge changes the order.1

1 NCGS § 50-13.4(c)