For many divorcing parents, there are no more contentious issues than child support and child custody. All parents believe they are the best parents, and no parent wants their money wasted, even if that waste is just perceived.
This is why litigation over these two issues continues throughout the divorce and rarely, ends with the divorce decree. One question that is generally answered at the conclusion of the divorce is when child support ends.
Who gets the child support?
Child support is dictated by Title VI of the Civil Practice and Procedure under Florida law. Subsection 61.13 explains that child support is dictated by the family law judge in their child support order or income deduction order.
With exceptions, child support ends when the child reaches their 18th birthday.
A one-year extension
At 18, if your child is still a dependent, you can get an extension up to their 19th birthday. However, the child must still be in high school, and they must be expected to graduate by their 19th birthday.
Mental or physical incapacity
If your child has a mental or physical incapacity that occurred at any point prior to their 18th birthday, then the family law judge can order child support beyond the age of 18.
In addition, if that child lives in a facility, both parents can be ordered to pay for the child’s care, and there is no time limitation.
The parents can also make an agreement on child support that will last past 18. While this may seem like an odd thing to agree to, it can be part of a broader agreement on the dissolution of the marriage.
Even if child support is ordered past the child’s 18th birthday, a substantial change in circumstances with the child or either parent could necessitate a change. And, if the child was emancipated prior to their 18th birthday, dies, marries or joins the armed services, child support ends.