Thursday, December 3, 2015

Does Child Support EVER End?

A couple of weeks ago, I posted on Facebook about the child of Cherica Adams turning 16.   This would seem unremarkable until you remember who Cherica Adams is.   She was the young lady gunned down by a hit man hired by Rae Carruth, a player for the Carolina Panthers and her boyfriend.  Ms. Adams was pregnant with their child and Carruth did not want to pay child support.   Rae Carruth was sentenced to prison for hiring the hitman, he is eligible for parole in 2018.   Here's hoping he doesn't get it.

I noted that he spent longer in prison than he would have paid in child support.   In Maryland, child support usually ends at age 18, or when the child finishes high school whichever is later.   This is to keep the child support from ending while the child is still in high school just because the birthday is before June.  This child would have turned 18 in 2017, one year before his father is eligible for parole.   If Carruth had not shot the mother and not severely injured the unborn child in the process, his child support would be over.  

But Carruth was thinking short term, not long term.   You see, the baby survived the shooting but was born with severe disabilities.   He will most likely never be self-supporting.   You notice I said child support "usually ends."   Well, the exception is a child incapable of being self-supporting.   Not the lazy kid who wants to live in his parents' basement forever and never get a real job.   That kid is on his own if the parents ever kick him out.   This provision is for kids like Cherica Adams' son (yes, I know he is Rae Carruth's son too, but let me just say that personally anyone who tries to kill their child loses the right to be called a parent.   But that's just me).   Kids whose physical or mental disability prevents them from being self-supporting.

In a case where a child turns 18 but cannot be self-supporting the child support will continue until the child can be self-supporting, if ever.   If the child can never be self-supporting the child support ends only upon the death of the child or the person paying.  

By shooting the child, Rae Carruth went from 18 years of child support to who knows how many years.   The child is 16 and apparently doing as well as can be expected.   Cherica Adams' mothr is caring for him and doing an excellent job at it.   But the financial support, however much it is, would probably be appreciated.   I am not sure if South Carolina has a similar statute to Maryland, but I would nto be surprised if it does.

Finally, one friend asked me if he would owe back child support from his time in prison.   The very lawyerly answer is "it depends."   First off, there would have to be a child support order in place in order for there to be back child support.   In Maryland, child support is only counted from the day of filing a request for it.   Other states allow some back support so it depends on South Carolina statute.   Then it depends on the statutes related to incarcarated parents.   In Maryland, you can petition to have child support suspended while incarcerated provided you are expected to be incarcerated for a certain period of time (have to look that up for sure, because I've never dealt with it specifically, not a lot of prisoners calling me for child support help).   Of course, it is only suspended from the date you ask.   If you are sentenced to 10 years and you wait 5 years to file, those five years of arrears are not going away.   So if there was an order and if it wasn't suspended while he was incarcerated then when Carruth gets out, whenever that is, he could owe thousands of dollars in back support.   This would be interesting to find out when the time comes.

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