Legal Information: North Carolina

Child Support

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February 14, 2022

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 3 years - until the 15 year old turns 18 (or until s/he is emancipated). This is to make sure that all four grandparents (or as many as there are alive) have to support the baby until BOTH of the baby’s parents are 18 or 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 (unemancipated) 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 (past-due support) 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?

Possibly. Any person, agency, organization or institution that stands in loco parentis (“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 (after considering many factors). The minor parent(s), however, still have a duty to support their child.1

1 NCGS § 50-13.4(b)

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