2017 Maryland House Bill 955

The 2017 House Bill 955 specifies what it means to be enrolled in postsecondary education, and it extends the age in which an individual can receive support from their parents to pay for college. The most significant portion of HB 955 extends the age in which a child can receive child support funds from 19 to 23 when the child is enrolled in a postsecondary institution.

Currently, Maryland child support laws allow a custodial parent or a child to receive child support for an individual who is past the Maryland age of majority but enrolled in postsecondary education. 2017 House Bill 955 repeals the general provisions regarding the right of an eighteen-year-old who is enrolled in college or higher education to receive support from both parents.

As of today, an individual who is age 18 and is enrolled in a secondary school is considered a minor and has the right to receive child support until one of the following occurs:

  1. the child marries;
  2. the child reaches age 19;
  3. the child is emancipated;
  4. the child graduates or is no longer enrolled in secondary school; or
  5. the child dies.

Under the 2017 House Bill 955, the Legislature would also require an equity court to retain jurisdiction for the purpose of ordering support, in accordance with the child support guidelines, for a child who has reached age 18 and who is enrolled in a secondary school.

The Legislature defined “institution of postsecondary education” to mean a school or other institution that offers an educational or vocational training program for individuals who are at least sixteen (16) and who have graduated from or left elementary or secondary school.

Equity court will retain jurisdiction over individuals enrolled in an “institution of postsecondary education” at least full-time. A student is full-time is when he or she is enrolled for at least 12 hours of credit per semester or the equivalent of 12 hours of credit in an institution of postsecondary education.

The courts are to consider five factors in determining the child support award. The court must consider the following:

  • the ability of the parents to pay;
  • the child’s need for support;
  • the availability of financial aid from other sources, including grants and loans;
  • the child’s preparation for, aptitude for, and commitment to postsecondary education; and
  • the institution of postsecondary education in which the child is enrolled.

Will House Bill 955 Pass?

The new House Bill 955 went before the Judiciary Committee on March 15, 2017, and received an unfavorable report. On motion for favorability, HB 955 received 18 votes for unfavorable, one vote for favorable, and one person was excused.

Although the bill is not expected to materially impact the Judiciary’s workload, the judiciary committee is not supportive of the change. The Bill is only expected to create a minimal increase in special funds revenues and potentially a few additional hearings.

Find an Attorney for Child Support in Baltimore County, Maryland

The family law attorneys at James E. Crawford, Jr. & Associates have handled child support cases extensively and have experience helping parents negotiate child support agreements. The 2017 House Bill 955 could alter a parent’s requirement to support a child throughout college.

Speak to an experienced family law attorney about how House Bill 955 can affect your child support agreement if you are divorced or planning to divorce your spouse.

Our firm has two offices, conveniently located in Arbutus and Catonsville. Contact James E. Crawford, Jr. & Associates to revisit your child support agreement in light of House Bill 955 or for more information about how an experienced family law attorney can help you.

The attorneys at James E. Crawford, Jr. & Associates take cases in Arbutus, Maryland, and in the surrounding cities of Elliot City, Westminster, Baltimore, and Frederick, Maryland.

Call 443-709-9999 now for a free consultation.