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Responsibility for support of the child of an under-18 parent

Parents of children under the age of 18 in North Carolina might wonder who is financially responsible for the child of their minor child. If both the child’s mother and father are under the age of 18 and they are not emancipated, the primary responsibility for child support is shared among the child’s grandparents.

This responsibility continues among all living grandparents until both minors reach the age of 18. However, if one parent is 18 or older and the other parent is a minor, the parent who is older than 18 is primarily responsible. The parents of the minor remain responsible for the minor’s share.

A court decides the amount in support that must be paid by the grandparents and the parent who is 18 or older. However, if the parent who is not a minor falls behind in support, all of the grandparents have the responsibility to pay that back support until the other parent becomes emancipated or reaches the age of 18.

In general, minors might be considered emancipated if they get married and move out of the parental home, so if this occurs, the grandparents might not be responsible for the support of the child. However, both parents and grandparents should make sure that they fully understand and follow the decision of the court regarding support as well as custody and visitation. If it is necessary to modify a child support or custody agreement because of a change in circumstances, such as job loss or the plan of one parent to move far away, this may require a return to court. The court’s focus is the best interests of the child, so what is most convenient for the parents or the grandparents may not always be taken into consideration.