When does child support extend beyond age 18?

Under Florida Statute 61.13(1)(a), child support is set to terminate on a child’s eighteenth birthday. In some cases, however, it is necessary to extend support due to a child’s current school, mental or physical status.

If both parties agree, the child support termination date can be extended to the child’s high school graduation if the court finds the child dependent according to the statutory definition, and the child will graduate from high school before age 19.

In the recent case of Larwa v. D.O.R., 40 Fla. L. Weekly D 1803, the court held that a parent of a child whose child support obligation is scheduled to end at age eighteen, may petition the court before the child’s nineteenth birthday to extend child support to graduation. This case also holds that if extension of child support is based on mental or physical incapacity, then the parent must file the action to extend support before the child’s eighteenth birthday. After the child’s eighteenth birthday they are considered an emancipated adult, even if incapacitated, and can petition the courts in their own name or through a guardian to extend support into adulthood.

Divorce and family law issues can be complex. For information on how Givens Givens Sparks can assist you with your divorce and family law matters, or to contact one of our attorneys for a free consultation.

Written by:

Blair H. Chan III, Esq. | Principal

Givens Givens Sparks

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