Unfortunately, parents sometime fall behind on their child support obligations. Statistics show that currently $100 billion is owed in back child support across the country. Given such large numbers, questions about back child support understandably impact many families, including some here in South Carolina.
A common question for those who both owe the back support or are waiting to receive the back support payments is what happens to the arrearage once the child turns 18? Some think that once the child who is owed the money turns 18 the obligation to pay the back support disappears. However, that is not the case in South Carolina.
Some of the confusion concerning this issue comes from the fact that child support in SC typically ends when the child has turned 18 and graduated high school. While this means that no additional child support payments will need to be made after this date, it does not do anything to solve the problem of back support that has not been paid.
The law is clear that just because one parent's obligation to pay support has ended does not excuse him or her from paying the remaining unpaid amount. That person can still be taken to court and held in contempt for not paying, regardless of the age of the child.