When Florida Child Support May be Appropriate After Age 18
In Florida, child support usually ends when the child who is being supported turns 18 years old. It is possible, however, for a parent to be required to pay child support beyond this age, so if you have questions about how long you will need to financially support your child, it is important to speak with a skilled Fort Lauderdale child support lawyer who can advise you about your legal obligations.
Physical or Mental Disability
Although most parents who are ordered to pay child support are no longer required to do so after their child turns 18 years old, there are a few circumstances in which a parent can be ordered to continue paying past this deadline. For instance, Florida family law courts can order child support beyond the age of majority if the adult child in question has a physical or mental disability that began prior to his or her 18th birthday.
Because a disability must have occurred before a child’s 18th birthday in order for him or her to continue receiving support, most original child support orders reference the need to extend child support past the age of majority. If, however, the issue was not addressed or the child suffered an accident after the issuance of that order, but before turning 18 years old, then the child’s parents must seek a modification of the order with the court. The amount of these payments will depend on the specific circumstances of a case. If, for example, the adult child is able to hold down a job, but does not earn enough to support him or herself, the support amount will usually be lowered to reflect that.
Dependent Children Still Enrolled in High School
Family law courts are also willing to extend child support payments beyond the age of 18 years old when the dependent child in question is:
- Still in high school; and
- Studying in good faith to graduate before age 19.
However, even when a judge modifies a child support agreement to provide for children who are in this position, the order will only remain in place until the child reaches 19 years of age.
Adult Support by Agreement
It is also possible for a child’s parents to come to an out-of-court arrangement in which they agree to provide financial support for their children not just because that individual is disabled or still enrolled in high school, but for any reason. Many parents, for instance, choose to go this route when a child decides to live with one parent while attending college or trade school. In these cases, it is not uncommon for the parents to come to an agreement where the non-custodial parent pays support until that child graduates or reaches a certain age. Alternatively, both parents could agree to help pay a portion of a child’s tuition and living expenses for a certain period of time.
Contact Our Office Today
Most child support agreements end when a child turns 18 years old, so parents who want to continue providing support after their child reaches adulthood will need to ask the court for an extension of the original order. To learn more about filing an extension of your own child support award, please contact dedicated Fort Lauderdale child support lawyer Sandra Bonfiglio, P.A. at 954-945-7591 today.