State of Arizona v. David C. Lee – 1/29/2008

February 5, 2008

Arizona Court of Appeals Division One Holds That Parent’s Child Support Obligation for a Post-Majority Child Continues While Child Is Making a Sincere Effort to Graduate From High School.

Father of a post-majority child argued that pursuant to A.R.S. §§ 25-320(F) and –501(A), his child support obligation should have ended when the child turned 18 or when the child should have graduated from high school. These virtually identical statutes provide in relevant part that “if a child reaches the age of majority while the child is attending high school… support shall continue to be provided while the child is actually attending high school….” Father contended the child was not “actually attending high school” given his poor attendance record and poor academic performance. The Court of Appeals found that whether a child is “actually attending” high school should be decided on a case-by-case basis after considering factors such as (1) whether the child is regularly present in class; (2) the reasons for any absences; and (3) whether the child is taking affirmative steps in pursuit of an education. The Court of Appeals affirmed the trial court’s ruling that there was substantial evidence that the child was making a sincere effort to graduate from high school, and thus Father’s child support obligation continued through the date that the child actually graduated.

Judge Hall authored the opinion; Judges Snow and Portley concurred.