child support past the age of 18

Florida Child Support, When Will it End?

In Florida, the easy answer to “when will my obligation to pay child support end?” is as each child turns eighteen (18) years old,  Florida Statute 743.07(1).  Eighteen (18) is the magic number.  But your obligation to pay child support for the child who is eighteen (18) or older may not end automatically because the child turned eighteen(18).  You may need to take some action in court to end your obligation to pay child support.  Or your obligation to pay child support in Florida may continue because of other legal factors.

You may need to return to court to officially end your obligation to pay child support. Your marital settlement agreement may require you to return to court to end your support obligation.

The words you used to describe your obligation to pay child support may not be clear that the amount you are paying will be recalculation as each child becomes an adult (18 years of age).  Another reason, might be your employer wants instructions from the court in the form of a new Order and Amended Income Deduction Order directing the employer to deduct a new amount of money from your pay check for a less number of children.   The state agency that collects and distributes the child support may need additional instructions from the Florida court to officially change the amount of child support.

So it may be wiser for you to get an Order, even without someone asking, because the date you file the Motion to Recalculate Child Support will likely be the the date the court uses to reset the new child support amount.  The longer you wait the later to file the Motion to Recalculate Child Support  only sets back the effective date of the modification.  Example – your son turns eighteen (18) on June 30th, he graduated high school ten days earlier on June 20th.  For all purposes he is emancipated and his child supportshould stop.  Unfortunately, the martial settlement agreement doesn’t talk about what should happen when your child turns  eighteen (18).  Your employer wants a new Order from the Court to change the amount they deduct from your paycheck.  The state agency keeps telling you that you didn’t pay enough support because you just deducted what you thought was the right amount.  The state agency records show you owe the full amount of child support and the state sent you a notice your driver’s license will be suspended.

It is not a bad idea to get an Order ending the obligation to pay child support.  Not only would it be official and binding on everyone connected with the case, provide you with protection but it is an opportunity to get the child support amount recalculated.

This is important to understand too!  Eighteen (18) may be a magic number for ending your obligation to pay child support but there are other reasons set out in Florida Statute 743.07(2) that would continue your obligation to pay support beyond the age of eighteen (18).  There are two (20 reasons.  First, if the child is mentally or physically handicapped before his or her eighteen birthday.  Second, if the child is in high school when he or she turns eighteen (18) and is “performing in good faith with a reasonable expectation of graduation before the age of nineteen (19)”, then child support may go beyond the 18th birthday.

In summary, in Florida your child support obligation for each child should end as each child reaches eighteen (18).  But as you read, it is not automatically done.  Your employer or state agency may need an Order from the Court to end and or change the amount of your child support for the children who are still younger than eighteen (18).  You will need to file a Supplemental Petition for Modification of Child Support, attach updated Financial Affidavit and Minimum Mandatory Financial Disclosure documents.