Child Support Does Not Automatically Terminate in Rhode Island When a Child Turns 18!

How do I terminate my child support obligation and stop wage garnishment in Rhode Island?

In Rhode Island (RI) child support does not automatically terminate when a child reaches 18 years old! Termination of a support order is not automatic in Rhode Island! An order / obligation will only terminate if a motion to terminate is granted by a Judge of the Rhode Island Family Court. Unlike a motion to modify, a DR6 financial statement is not necessary unless there is an additional child in which a child support obligation will continue. If there is an additional child under 18 then a motion to terminate is really in essence a motion for modification.

Pursuing to RI law, child support is eligible to be terminated upon a child attaining the age of 18 and graduating high school but not longer then the child turning 19 years old. If the child is 18 years old and still in high school than child support may continue until the child grades high school but not longer then the child attaining the age of 19. If a child is determined to be seriously disabled then child support may continue until the child attains the age of 21. (please note that this law changed in 2009 and child support for severely disabled children may extend past 21) If the Judge finds good cause an order may continue for three months after graduation from high school.

A person should file a motion to terminate support approximately 30-40 days prior to the child's graduation from high school. If the child did not finish high school then a person should file their motion 30-40 days prior to the child's 18th birthday. It will take a approximately 30-40 days until the clerk can schedule a hearing for the termination motion.

After the motion to terminate, the attorney must submit proper documentation and orders to the court, the obligors employer (to stop wage garnishment) and to the reciprocal clerk (to amend the computer records) If the computer records continue to show an arrears which may cause problems including automatic intercept of your tax refund, ability to obtain a passport among other problems.