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Collecting Past Due Child Support After Your Child Turns 18


The divorce of two parents doesn’t change those parties’ obligation to financially support their child. This obligation, however, isn’t necessarily permanent. In Florida, the general rule is that non-custodial parents are no longer obligated to pay support after their child reaches the age of 18 years old. This rule does not, however, affect any child support owed from before the child reached the age of majority, which means that a custodial parent can still seek past due child support even after a child has reached adult legal status. For help seeking child support from a co-parent who is behind on payments, please call an experienced Fort Lauderdale child support enforcement lawyer today.

When Does Child Support End?

Most child support obligations end when a child reaches the age of 18 years old. There are, however, a few exceptions to this rule, one of which applies in cases where a child hasn’t yet graduated from high school before turning 18 years old. In these situations, the non-custodial parent can be ordered to continue paying child support until the child’s 19th birthday. Alternatively, if a child has a physical or mental disability that makes it impossible for him or her to be self-supporting, then the non-custodial parent can be ordered to continue paying child support indefinitely.

Collecting an Overdue Balance

Even once a child has turned 18 years old or graduated from high school, thereby terminating the non-custodial parent’s obligation to pay child support, a child’s custodial parent will generally retain the right to collect on overdue child support. To do so, however, the parent will need to obtain a court order signed by a judge, in which the court compels the other party to comply. If the non-custodial parent is still unable to make those payments, the requesting parent can make a claim on future funds. Courts can also help petitioners recover the amount by withholding the payments from the non-custodial parent’s paychecks or tax refund, or by placing a lien on that parent’s personal property.

It’s important to note, however, that child support will not continue to accrue after a child turns 18 years old or graduates from high school. This means that while a parent can still seek payment for overdue support from a non-custodial parent, he or she can only attempt to collect the past due amount and cannot seek additional payments.

Enforcing Child Support Orders 

Just because your child has turned 18 does not mean that his or her other parent cannot be compelled to pay a past due child support obligation. To make sure you go through the proper channels to obtain a court order to collect on overdue child support, please call dedicated child support enforcement lawyer Sandra Bonfiglio, P.A. We offer complimentary consultations, so don’t hesitate to reach out to our legal team by calling 954-945-7591, or by completing one of our online contact forms. We are standing by to address your child support-related questions and concerns.



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