Child support is often a mandatory aspect of a divorce or separation of any kind when minor children are involved. A child support order is the court’s means making sure a minor is consistently provided for financially. Even if a parent is not physically present in a child’s life, the state of Florida orders child support to make sure the child’s financial needs are met in a way that ensures their usual and comfortable standard of living remains intact. This financial support allows the child to maintain basic needs by providing support to the primary parent for necessities they might not be able to afford on a single income. Besides the necessities of life, child support often helps the primary parent afford other common needs for the children such as school supplies, gas to drive children to activities, rent, and more.
Child support is an order that is based on the parents’ income levels. Florida has its own set of rules regarding how much child support might be ordered and when child support can be modified, which you can read more about here. Usually, child support is only ordered to be paid up until the child(ren) turn 18. However, sometimes, the child support payments can extend beyond the age of official adulthood. In most cases, there are just two situations where a child support order can extend past the child’s 18th birthday:
- If a child is dependent because of a mental or physical incapacity that began before they turned 18 OR
- If a child has reached the age of 18, is still living at home, and is attending high school, where they will graduate high school before they turn 19
The term dependent is applied in this case to mean the child receiving child support is not out earning their own money, providing their own means of living. When considering if a child is going to receive child support past the age of 18, the child must both be dependent and have some sort of limitation either mentally or physically. Usually, this limitation is a mental or physical disability that affects their way of living. These disabilities can include those that prevent the child from being able to obtain and maintain a steady job to support themselves.
If you are paying or seeking child support and think your child might be in need of support beyond the age of 18, seek an family attorney today. An experienced attorney can aide you in following the proper steps to gaining the modification or extension you seek.