If you’re getting divorced, you may want to know about child support and how long someone will pay. Child support normally terminates once your child reaches the age of 18. However, that isn’t always the case, and there are times when it may extend much longer.
Child support is designed to provide coverage for education, maintenance, care and other necessities your child needs. It’s a court-ordered obligation, and normally, it stops around the age of 18.
18 is a guideline, not a guarantee
However, that age is just a guideline. In fact, child support can extend up to the age of 19 in Florida. For example, if a child turns 18 while they’re in school, their support may continue until they graduate.
What about children with special needs?
There is also a potential for child support to extend longer if you have a child with special needs. If you have a child with special needs who you or the other parent will be caring for long into the future, child support will normally continue for the life of the child.
You can handle the issue of child support in or outside of court
The interesting thing about child support is that you and the other parent can handle decisions about it outside of court. Though you will need to submit your agreement to the court for approval.
For example, today’s child support guidelines include:
- Looking at the incomes of both parents.
- Determining your child’s health care expenses.
- Determining childcare expenses.
- Figuring out your child’s basic needs (you can view the standard needs table to find this information).
The keyword here is that Florida uses guidelines. There isn’t a firm amount that a parent will pay for support until the amount is determined in court. So, if you and the other parent agree to a specific amount, you may be able to get that approved. Later, if you want to change it, a modification may be allowed as well.
Child support can be one complex part of your divorce. It’s helpful to learn more about what the state expects and how to modify support in the future, so you have more control over what is paid and where that money goes.