Will Child Support End Automatically Once A Child Turns 18 In Florida?
A common misconception is that child support always ends once the supported child turns 18. However, whether or not the payor’s child support obligation will end when the child reaches the age of 18 depends on various factors.
Child support encompasses payments for the child’s food, shelter, clothing, and other necessities. The parent who receives child support payments from the payor may rely heavily on those funds in their monthly budget, which is why they wonder, “Can child support payments continue after the child’s 18th birthday?”
The answer depends on many factors. Consider consulting with an experienced attorney to evaluate your particular situation and determine if child support will end automatically once your child turns 18.
Schedule a consultation with our Orlando child support lawyer at Arwani Law Firm to talk about your case today.
What Happens to Child Support When a Child Turns 18?
Fla. Stat. § 61.13 states that the child support obligation is terminated when a child turns 18. This is true in most cases. However, the payor may be required to continue paying child support if the child has not graduated high school before turning 18. In that case, child support may continue until the child’s graduation.
Under Florida law, 19 is the maximum age a child can receive child support. Thus, if a child graduates high school after their 18th birthday but before they age the age of 19, the parent’s child support obligation will end on the date of graduation.
If a child is not on track to graduate before their 19th birthday, child support may end automatically when the child turns 18. As you can see, determining when a child support obligation will end can be complicated. For this reason, you may want to consider speaking with a lawyer to discuss your specific case.
Can Child Support Continue After the Child’s 19th Birthday?
The only situation in which a Florida court will allow child support to continue after the child’s 19th birthday is if that child has special needs. Thus, child support payments could continue indefinitely, even after the child turns 19, if the child is physically or mentally incapacitated or is otherwise dependent upon his/her parents.
If a child becomes incapacitated after a support order is issued, but before they turn 18, parents can seek a modification of the original order to eliminate the termination date and ensure that the payments continue beyond the child’s 18th and 19th birthdays.
Florida courts may not order child support to extend through the child’s post-secondary education against the payor’s will unless the court finds that the child is dependent upon their parents.
If you have any disagreements with the other parent regarding the termination date for your child support order, consider negotiating a mutually beneficial solution or mediating your dispute rather than go to court.
At Arwani Law Firm, our knowledgeable child support attorney has extensive experience helping parents negotiate mutually beneficial solutions while protecting children’s best interests. Get a consultation with our attorney by calling 407-254-0060.