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Can I Recover Past Due Child Support After My Child Has Reached The Age Of 18?


In Florida, child support usually terminates when the child turns 18 years of age. However, this general rule doesn’t apply when child support is owed by one parent to another prior to the time that the child reaches the age of majority and becomes a legal adult under Florida law. In those circumstances, the custodial parent is allowed to recover past-due child support that is owed to them. To collect past-due child support payments, the custodial parent must obtain a court order that is signed by a judge. Even when the debtor parent is financially bound and cannot make payments, the court order would preserve the right of the custodial parent to recover back child support. In this article, the Orlando child support attorneys at Greater Orlando Family Law will explain child support payments after the child has reached the age of 18.

Child support payments continue until the child graduates from high school

Another exception to the general rule that child support terminates when the child reaches the age of 18 is when the child has not yet graduated from high school. In these situations, child support can be extended if there is a reasonable expectation that the child will graduate from high school before their 19th birthday. In that case, child support would be extended until the child graduates from high school. If there is no reasonable expectation that the child will graduate from high school, child support would terminate on the child’s 18th birthday.

Special needs children and indefinite child support payments 

Florida provides for another exception for the custodial parent of a child with special needs. If you have a child with special needs, and that child is incapable of becoming self-supporting, then Florida would not terminate child support. A custodial parent may request child support for the life of the child. In other words, child support would extend indefinitely if the child cannot support themselves.

Florida requires parents who are attempting to get indefinite child support payments to file a petition with the courts. The child’s special needs must be recognized in a court order whether it is through a first-time order or a modification. It is important to mention that the court must recognize the child’s special needs or disability status before the child turns 18 years old. If a parent fails to request child support to continue before the child turns 18, then they would forfeit their right to request indefinite child support from the courts.

Those are the only three exceptions for when child support would continue beyond the age of 18: When the parent owes back-due child support, when the child is still in high school and there is a reasonable expectation that they will graduate by their 19th birthday, and when the child has special needs and cannot support themselves.

Talk to an Orlando Family Law Attorney Today 

The Orlando family lawyers at Greater Orlando Family Law represent the interests of parents who are attempting to collect child support from another parent. Call our office today to schedule an appointment, and we can begin discussing your concerns right away.

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