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June 13, 2016

Happy 18th Birthday: No Check for You!

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Families in two states were able to extend child support for their 18-year-old students thanks to guidance from HSLDA.

Darren Jones DARREN JONES HSLDA litigation attorney

In Texas, the child support enforcement agency refused to continue child support for a homeschooling member family’s children past their 18th birthdays. Even when confronted with a judge’s order, the agency kept telling the mother that her children were ineligible for the payments because the students’ curriculum was self-paced, and thus they did not have an expected graduation date.

The family contacted Home School Legal Defense Association. We reviewed the documents and recommended that the mother explain that she was the administrator of her homeschool program and certify her children’s graduation dates. Following our advice, the Texas mother explained state law to the agency, asserted that she was the school official, and stated her children’s expected graduation dates. The agency, which had previously stalled for four months, immediately approved the payments.

In the Golden State

On the West Coast, a member family from Burbank, California, had a similar issue. The family had been receiving child support payments for their daughter, who was eligible for continued payments until she graduated from high school. Before their daughter’s 18th birthday, the family received a form to certify that the she was still enrolled in high school. However, the form had no provision for the fact that the student was enrolled in a home-based private school program.

When the family contacted HSLDA, we recommended that they submit their private school affidavit along with the form they had received. Normally, when the state, school district, or other agency regulates homeschooling, HSLDA does not recommend voluntarily giving more information about a homeschool program than what is required by law. However, in cases in which an official needs information about a homeschool program in order to provide a benefit to the family—in this case, to continue child support payments—showing such documents to the agency will not jeopardize the legal standing of the homeschool program.

Shortly after the submitting the form, the grateful member family contacted us to say that the agency had continued the child support payments.

HSLDA is happy to support our members with advocacy and court representation, but many times, a simple directive from our experienced legal team is enough to resolve the situation.