Family Law Spotlight: Child Support

Under Florida law, children have the right to be financially supported by both parents.  Courts base the determination of child support on the salary or income of both parents individually, the number of nights the child spends with the non-custodial parent, and  other factors such as cost of daycare.

Most child support orders have an end date pursuant to Florida law.  In general, most end dates fall on the eighteenth birthday of the child.  Once the child turns eighteen, the child support order will terminate and the parent paying child support will no longer have to pay the order.

Exceptions to the End Date

There are a few exceptions that change the end date for payment.

The first exception to the 18th birthday end date occurs when the child will not graduate from high school before turning 19.  In this instance, the parent will pay until graduation; however, the parent does not have to pay child support after the child’s 19th birthday regardless of graduation.  In other cases however, if a child is not on track to graduate before they turn 19, the parent may be able to stop payment at the child’s 18th birthday.

A second exception to the 18th birthday expiration date is if you have a child with special needs who will not be able to become a self-supporting adult.  Under this exception, the payment could last for the duration of the child’s life.  Usually, the court order for payment will include information as to whether the payment will last for life.

Termination of Child Support

Usually, the requirement to pay child support terminates automatically on your child’s 18th birthday.  You simply stop making payments; however, if your agreement does not permit automatic termination you can either:

  • Terminate child support in the same court that issued your original payment order; OR
  • File a supplemental petition to modify

If you have questions this or another family law issue please contact us.  Our experienced attorneys look forward to assisting you.

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