If you are paying child support in Florida, do not assume that your legal obligations end when your kid turns 18 years old. There are exceptions to this rule, depending on your family’s needs and circumstances. Continue reading to learn what you need to know about child support payments and laws in Florida, as well as, where to find trusted legal advice for your family matters.
Child Support End Dates in Florida
In October of 2010, Florida legislated a statute requiring that all child support orders have an end date for child support payments. This means that any child support orders established before October of 2010 do not contain end dates, and will continue as valid orders until terminated. Furthermore, there is something called an Income Withholding Order that usually goes along with a child support order. This order is required by law to have an end date.
Child Support Beyond 18 Years Old
As a result of rising costs of post-secondary education, market inflation, and similar economic variables, the need for extended financial support for guardians of children is more common among families of all income brackets. And to the benefit of many families, the state of Florida allows certain legal recourse to satisfy those needs, so long as the courts agree.
Normally, under Florida law, child support payments are to end on a child’s 18th birthday, unless both parties agree to another arrangement. Either guardian can put in a court order to modify child support in any way, so long as the order is filed within a certain time frame.
When making such modifications, the length of time a legal guardian might be ordered to pay child support mostly depends on when the child graduates high school, and at what age. There are some cases in which child support must be paid until a child reaches the age of 19 years old, or perhaps indefinitely.
Here in Florida, the law might recognize certain limits on child support payments, such as:
Graduates BEFORE 18 Years Old – Child Support Ends on 18th Birthday
Graduates AFTER 18 Years Old – Child Support Ends on Graduation Day
Graduates AFTER 19 Years Old – Child Support Ends on 19th Birthday
Not Graduating Before 19 Years Old – Child Support Ends on 18th Birthday
Extended or Indefinite Child Support
As mentioned, there are several cases in which child support might be granted beyond a child’s 18th and 19th birthday, and in some cases, permanently. In the case of children who are special needs, terminally ill, or mentally or physically incapacitated, the state might grant extended or indefinite child support, depending on the circumstances.
Step-Parent Child Support
Many divorcing couples share blended families, which leads many step parents asking about rights surrounding child support. In Florida, step-parents are not required to pay child support to non-biological children, nor do the courts consider a step-parent’s income when calculating child support awards.
Florida child support is complex, as the rights and legal obligations of child support varies greatly among families. To get the best possible outcome for your family, you need professional legal advisor who can help you better understand your unique case.
Contact the Law Office of Shane T. Herbert at 407-887-7058 to speak with a child support lawyer in Orlando, Florida about your family legal matters. You can choose to have your first appointment over the phone or even video conference, if needed. If you choose an in-office visit, our family law office is conveniently located in the Metro West area, within the Offices of Veranda Park, which offers free parking. We look forward to helping you resolve your family legal matters.