With regard to child support in the state of Florida, the general rule is that child support terminates when a child reaches 18 years of age. However, the general rule does not apply when child support is still owed for any time prior to the child’s reaching adult legal status. Under these circumstances, the custodial parent generally retains the right to collect on the overdue balance owed. In terms of procedure, to collect any outstanding child support payments, the custodial parent must obtain a court order. Even if the debtor parent is not currently able to make the payments, a court order preserves the right of the non-debtor parent to make a claim on future money earned for back child support. To ensure that a court order is properly obtained, custodial parents in Florida would benefit from retaining the services of an experienced Tampa Bay child support attorney.
Florida Also Provides an Exception in Instances When a Child Of Legal Age Has Not Yet Graduated From High School
In addition to the exception concerning past due child support, Florida’s child support statute also contains a provision that extends child support until a child graduates from high school, if there is a reasonable expectation of graduating before his or her 19th birthday. If no reasonable expectation then child support will terminate upon reaching his or her 18th birthday.
Florida Provides an Additional Exception for Children with Special Needs
Florida provides another exception for the custodial parent of a child with special needs. If your child has special needs, and is incapable of ever becoming a self-supporting adult, then Florida will not terminate child support. Under these conditions, the child support will be ordered to last for the life of the child. Still, even under these circumstances, it is imperative that you follow the requisite legal procedures. The child’s special needs status must be formally recognized via court order, whether through a first-time order or a later modification. One last point on this issue is absolutely critical to understand: if you have not obtained a formal court order, even if your child has special needs, and the child reaches age 18 (thereby ending child support), you forfeit the right to reopen the case to continue child support.
What to do If You Are Owed Past Due Child Support for a Child That Has Reached Adult Legal Status
Is your former spouse refusing to pay child support on the basis that your child is now of legal age? Know your rights; just because your child has reached the age of 18, a debtor spouse can still be compelled to make good on past due child support payments. Contact an experienced Tampa Bay child support attorney at All Family Law Group, P.A. by calling 813.902.3624 for a consultation at no charge to ensure that a court order is properly obtained. Doing so will preserve your right to collect on still owed child support in the future.
By Lynette Silon-Laguna Google