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Legal Information: North Carolina

Child Support

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Laws current as of December 22, 2023

When minor(s) have a child, how long do the minor’s parents (the child’s grandparents) have to help support the child?

If both parents are under 18 and unemancipated at the time of the child’s conception, their parents, the child’s grandparents, share primary responsibility for supporting the child. This responsibility lasts until both minor unemancipated parents become age 18 or are emancipated.1 For example, if a 17 year-old and a 15 year-old have a baby, both sets of grandparents are responsible for the baby’s support for three years - until the 15 year old turns 18 or until s/he is emancipated. A court will determine the amount that the child’s grandparents must pay to help support the child.1

If only one parent was under 18 and unemancipated at the time of the child’s conception and the other parent was over 18, the over-18 parent has primary responsibility to support the child for his/her share and the grandparents of the under-18 parent shares primary responsibility for his/her share of the child support. However, if the over-18 parent does not pay, and owes past-due child support (called “arrearages”), all of the grandparents are liable for arrearages until the minor parent reaches the age of 18 or becomes emancipated.1

1 NCGS § 50-13.4(b)

If I care for a child who is not biologically mine and s/he has a baby, am I responsible to help support the baby?

Any person, agency, organization or institution that stands in loco parentis, which means “in place of a parent,” of a minor unemancipated child who has a baby may be secondarily liable for the support of the minor child if the judge orders this. The minor parent(s), however, still have a duty to support their child.1

1 NCGS § 50-13.4(b)