For some, child support is an ongoing obligation that holds no light at the end of a long tunnel that can extend over 18 years. Every situation is different and the answer as to when child support will end depends on your individual situation. An experienced North Florida Family Law Attorney can review your circumstances and help you obtain the best result for you under the law.
The answer to when child support ends is far from a black and white question in Florida. Conceptually, child support is the right of each child. Therefore, courts are reluctant to enter an order that does not provide for child support. As a practicing Family Law Attorney, I have encountered many individuals that believe that parents can simply agree that child support will not be provided for in a final judgment of dissolution or paternity. In Florida, a statutory guideline exists to determine what is presumptively reasonable for a parent to pay for child support. The court can depart from the statutory amount by up to 5%, but there must be specific findings of fact enumerated in the order to justify any departure beyond the 5%, up or down.
Under current law, when two or more children are provided for in a support order, that order must include provisions detailing when the support obligation terminates for each child. There should be a modification of the income deduction order to reflect the changes. There are circumstances that allow child support to continue past the age of 18. If a child is still in high school at age 18 with a reasonable chance of graduating before age 19, child support may continue through graduation. Where a child graduates high school prior to his or her 19th birthday, support ends at age 18. If a child becoming an adult has a disability that would result in the child continuing to be a dependent, child support could continue indefinitely. There are other less conventional reasons that child support might end, the death of a child, the emancipation of a child, or a situation where a child is earning enough money that no support is required (this would be a rare occasion, but there are numerous child stars that have earned more than their parents). Under Florida Law, the only circumstance where one would be obligated to support a healthy adult child beyond the age of 19, would be where an Obligor agrees to such a duty in a contract (i.e. marital settlement agreement).
In Florida, although 18 is the age of majority, 18 is not necessarily the age one’s child support obligation will end. In Florida, there are various other factors that determine when the obligation ends. You should consult an experienced North Florida child support attorney today.
About the author
Neil Weinreb is a licensed Florida attorney who has been practicing family law for over 15 years in North Florida. Mr. Weinreb works for the Law Office of David M. Goldman in Jacksonville, Florida. 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 today to find out how having an experienced attorney on your side can help. Call (904) 685-1200 today. Law Office of David M. Goldman, PLLC, 4115 Hendricks Ave., Jacksonville, Florida 32207. Telephone (904) 685-1200. Notable child support cases: CRAWFORD v. DEPARTMENT OF REVENUE, 219 So.3d 224 (1st DCA 2017).