Premature Termination of Child Support Reversed, Affirmed

April 27, 2010 | Child Support, Court Decisions, Legal Perspective

Icon for author Brian Vertz Brian Vertz

In the recent Superior Court decision, Castadi v. Castaldi, the Domestic Relations Section mailed notices to the child’s mother inquiring whether child support should terminate in January 2007, when the child would be eighteen years old. Mother did not respond to the inquiries, and the Domestic Relations Section terminated child support. Unbeknownst to the DRS, the child had not yet completed 12th grade.

In the summer in 2007, the mother contacted DRS and notified them that the child had not graduated high school until June 2007. The DRS administratively amended the support arrears, adding an additional 6 months of arrears for which the father was responsible. The father filed a petition seeking to rescind the additional arrears, which was denied by the trial court. The Superior Court affirmed.

In its opinion, the Superior Court first confirmed that the child support order should have continued until the later of the child’s 18th birthday or high school graduation. The Court distinguished Style v. Shaub, in which the DRS administratively terminated child support after the child had turned 18 and graduated from high school. The Court held that DRS had continuing jurisdiction pursuant to Section 4352(e) to amend the arrears and was authorized to correct its error in terminating child support prematurely. The Court held that the mother was not estopped by failing to respond to the DRS inquiries.

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