The thought of child support can often make one think of monthly payments that have no end in sight. Child support payments do end, however, the question of when they will actually cease is not as straightforward and depends on the circumstances.
When Your Child Turns 18
According to Florida laws, child support ordinarily is meant to end on your child’s 18th birthday. If the order was made in favor of more than one child, child support is calculated according to different dates in the future. It reduces as each child turns 18 and finally ends once the last child turns 18.
If your child graduates high school before turning 18, child support will end on the day of graduation from high school. The essence of this provision is a presumption that dependence ends after high school. If an Income Withholding Order accompanied your child support order, it would normally contain these same end dates.
When Your Child Turns 19
There are situations where child support will continue even after a child has turned 18. These situations are largely dependent on when the child will graduate from high school.
If your child graduates high school after turning 18 but before turning 19, child support ends on the date of graduation.
If your child is on track for graduating at or just after the 19th birthday, child support ends on the child’s 19th birthday.
If your child is not on track to graduate before the age of 19, child support will end on the child’s 18th birthday.
Beyond Age 19
It is also possible for child support to continue beyond age 19. In some limited cases, it may even continue for the foreseeable future. These situations are limited to cases where the child has special needs that render them dependent. These special needs would often include physical or mental incapacitation.
If you are in this position, it is necessary that the court order recognizes the special needs status of your child. If it does not recognize that status, and your child reaches 18, child support will end. In such case, you would not be able to reopen the case to continue child support.
The appropriate thing to do in this situation is to seek a modification of the court order. This modification will terminate the end date in the original order.
Court Ordered Termination Date
Generally, the law provides that the court must include a termination date in every order for child support. This means that the court must specify that child support will end on the child’s 18th birthday.
In certain situations, the court may still fail to include the dates on which the order will terminate. This failure often means that parents may need to return to court for an order terminating the child support.
Types of Child Support Payments
If you are paying the child support directly, you may have an easier go at ending the payments where the court fails to include a termination date for the order. Direct payment here means that payment, for you, consists of writing checks and mailing them directly to your ex.
If you are in this situation, you can simply stop paying child support once the child turns 18. What makes this easy is that your payments are not being tracked by any state agency.
Payments Through The State
If you have to make payments through the state, you would need to get an order from a judge to terminate the disbursement unit account. If you don’t take care of this adequately, you may be accused of failing to pay child support.
Contact An Orlando Child Support Lawyer
Litigating child support can be extremely difficult. It is important to have experienced legal representation by your side, helping you reach the best potential outcome for your case. Attorney Chad Frost represents clients in divorce, child support, child custody, and many other family law matters. Contact Frost Law today at (407) 670-5569 for a free consultation and review of your case.