In Florida, Does a Child Support Obligation Have a Statute of Limitations?

What is a Statute of Limitations?

The term “Statute of Limitations” refers to a law that limits the period for which one may file a lawsuit.  This time period will typically vary by state and the type of suit that is being filed. For instance, the period of time for filing suit for a wrongful death claim may be different from the period of time one has to file for a trespass suit.  Federal law normally controls Statute of Limitations Periods for cases decided based upon federal law.

How Far Back Can One Be Assessed in Determining Child Support?

In short, the answer is that in Florida, when one files an action for child support, the Court may look back up to 24 months or until the date the subject child was born for purposes of assessing the Obligor’s support that is owed at the time the support order is entered.  This amount is typically assessed as an arrearage.  An arrearage is typically paid as an added amount to an Obligor’s regular child support payments.  As an example, if a child were two years old at the time an action for child support was filed, the Obligor’s child support obligation would extend from the child’s date of birth to the date the action is filed.  .  

How Long Does a Child Support Obligation Last?

In Florida, in most cases, a party’s child support obligation terminates when a child reaches majority (18) or when the child graduates from high school if the child is still in high school when he or she turns 18 with a reasonable chance of graduating by the age of 19.  However, the obligation to pay an already accrued child support balance does not have a limitations period.  Therefore, an Oblugor’s child support balance will never be extinguished until it is paid.  

What Problems Can an Obligor Have From a Past Due Child Support Obligation?

Under Florida Law, a past due Obligor’s professional licenses and driver’s license can be suspended, wages and bank accounts garnished, and an Obligor that owes more than $2500 in back support may not be able to obtain a valid passport.  In some cases, an Obligor can be jailed.  The federal government may intercept an Obligor’s tax refund for past due child support obligations.  There are numerous actions that can be taken by government to encourage or compel Obligors to voluntarily pay their child support obligations.  When that does not occur, the aforementioned sanctions may be forthcoming.  Additionally,  there is an interstate compact that has the various states cooperating with each other in securing funds from Obligors.

Is There a Way to Settle a Child Support Obligation Even Without Paying the Full Balance?

Sometimes a child support balance can be settled without the Obligor paying the full balance.  In most cases, the majority of the funds owed are owed to the other parent.  The author has successfully helped parties settle past due child support obligations.  Sometimes an Obligor can agree to settle the debt owed to the Obligee by making an immediate cash settlement offer that is accepted by the other party.  The author has also coordinated settlements in which a settlement of past due child support was wiped out upon a step parent adoption.  Even though an Obligee can agree to settle a balance due to him or her, a balance owed to the State of Florida may remain and is not affected by such a settlement.

Know Your Rights and Get Professional Advice.

If you are impacted by a child support obligation in Florida, you should seek an attorney that is experienced in child support matters.  The attorneys at the Law Office of David M. Goldman, PLLC are experienced in child support matters and they can help you decide the best way to proceed in a child support matter.  To schedule a consultation with an experienced attorney, Call (904) 685-1200 today.  Law Office of David M. Goldman, PLLC, 4115 Hendricks Ave., Jacksonville, Florida 32207.  Telephone (904) 685-1200.

About the author

Neil Weinreb is a licensed Florida attorney who has been practicing law for over 17 years in North Florida.  Mr. Weinreb received the highest possible rating from Martindale Hubbell, AV Pre-eminent.  Mr. Weinreb works for the Law Office of David M. Goldman in Jacksonville, Florida and regularly handles child support issues.  Mr. Weinreb has worked as an adjunct professor teaching law to paralegal students at Jones College in Jacksonville, Florida.  You can contact Mr. Weinreb at the Law Office of David M. Goldman for a free initial consultation.  An important child support case that Mr. Weinreb successfully appealed in 2017 was, Sencoa Crawford v. State of Florida in which Florida’s First District Court of Appeals found that hearing officers did not have the authority to order arrests of Obligors.  Crawford v. Department of Revenue, 219 So. 3d 224 (1st DCA 2017).


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