Bayliss Ruling Creates Questions

Since the Supreme Court of Alabama has reversed the holding in Bayliss,it has raised some issues that the Court will most likely have to address in the near future.  The most obvious being how to deal with the fact that in Alabama the age of majority is 19.  This age is more than is required for most any adult dealings. For instance, at 18 a male must register for the draft and both sexes are able to register to vote.

By the age of majority being 19 in Alabama, it obligates non-custodial parents to continue child support payments until then or the minor child becomes self-supporting.  It raises the interesting question of: now that a noncustodial parent cannot be forced to pay post minority support, why would they have to continue to pay support to  a custodial parent in a situation where the 18 year old child is enrolled and attending a university full time?

Child support is paid to the custodial parent, not the child, and is for the maintenance and support of that child.  If the child is 18, graduated high school, attending college on a full time basis, and living away from home, why is there a need to pay the custodial parent? Currently there is no provision that would allow direct payment to the minor child in College so that the support may be used as needed by the 18 year old student.  Also it must be considered that in most cases even without an order of post minority support most parents gladly assist in college expenses.  That parent should not be obligated to pay child support once the 18 year old enters college full time and lives away from home.  There are no assurances in place that the child would receive any benefit from that extra year of payments.

The fact is the Court probably can’t resolve this issue because the question only raises more issues.  The best solution would be for the Alabama Legislature to reduce the age of majority in Alabama from 19 to 18 as is the case in many other states.