How Long Does Child Support Last in Florida?

man holding child
Initially, when the term child support was mentioned, what would cross people’s mind was some monthly payments that would be made until the age of 18 was attained. However, the increasing costs of the current postsecondary education has completely changed most terms of child support. Nonetheless, this is dependent on the situation of a particular individual. How long does child support last in Florida? The following are the various circumstances concerning child support in Florida:

Ending at the age of 18
Child support in Florida is governed by the Florida statute. It states that monthly payments should stop when the child reaches the age of 18 but this can change if both parties agree otherwise. In cases where more than 1 child is involved, the quantity paid for child support on a monthly basis will decrease proportionally as every child attains the age of 18. Such dates are usually set out inside the final court order with regard to child support.

Ending at the age of 19
The circumstances where child support in Florida extends beyond the legal age of 18 are very limited. The potential age of extension is 19. These circumstances heavily depend on the child’s age when they complete high school, it is broken down as below:

  1. When a child happens to graduate before he/she is 18 then child support is terminated at the 18th birthday.
  2. When a child happens to graduate after attaining the age of 18 years but prior to turning 19, then child support is terminated when they graduate.
  3.  If a child graduates after turning 19 then his/her child support is withdrawn legally at the 19th birthday.
  4. When a child fails to be on track for his/ her high school graduation prior to turning 19 then support is withdrawn at their 18th birthday.

Beyond 19
Florida permits the continuance of child support after the age of 19 and even indefinitely but only if the child involves has some special needs. These needs should be the ones that render him/ her dependent i.e. physical incapacitation or mental incapacitation. People who have children with special needs before a child support order should ensure that the matter concerning extended child support is well addressed in the order. In addition, if a child suffers incapacitation later on but before they turn 18, it is advisable to seek an order modification in order to remove the original date of termination as a result of special needs. This is because it is impossible to seek for extended child support after a child turns 18 even for cases of dependency.

There was a ruling by Florida courts that the law has no provision that prevents orders, which extend all through postsecondary education to cater for college expenses. It is good to note that most courts are unlikely to order such support if a party does not wish it so. However, the court may do so if the child is dependent on their parents.

People who are facing divorce or are keen to modify their existing child support order should contact us with questions and to set up an appointment for a consultation at (954) 696-7228