DOES CHILD SUPPORT END AUTOMATICALLY WHEN A CHILD TURNS 18 IN THE STATE OF FLORIDA?
Many persons in Florida believe that child support automatically ends once a child turns 18. However, that is not always the case!
Child support includes payments for a child's food, shelter, clothing, and other necessities. The parent who receives child support payments from the payor parent made need tht child support and they may then wonder if child support payments and continue after the child's 18th birthday?
The answer depends on many factors.
Florida Statute § 61.13 provides that the child support obligation is terminated when a child turns 18. This is true in most cases. However, the payor parent may be required to continue paying child support if the child has not graduated high school before turning 18. In such a 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.
Can Child Support Continue After the Child's 19th Birthday?
The only situation in which a Florida court can order 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 and thus dependent upon their 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 your ex-spouse concerning the termination date for your child support order, consider asking your ex-spouse to agree upon a mutually selected Family Mediator instead of fighting in Court with your ex-spouse!