When Does Child Support End in Florida?
Divorce parents naturally have many questions about child custody and child support. For some parents, a common question they may have is how long does child support last. Typically it ends when the child turns 18, but there are some instances where a parent may be required to pay child support throughout college and beyond. Here's what you need to know.
Exceptions to the standard rule exist, and they can be addressed by the parents agreeing upon paying for the child's further education. Payments could be extended beyond the age of 18 if the parents want to create a settlement agreement that provides college expenses.
Understanding Florida's Child Support Laws
In Florida, parents are not required to pay for the cost of their children's college education. A judge cannot require a parent to pay child support past the end of the school year that the child turns 18 years old. If the child graduates before they turn become a legal adult, child support will continue until their 18th birthday.
Essentially, the parents must devise an agreement that they submit to the court. For the deal to be legally binding and enforceable, the settlement agreement should contain terms regarding the child's tuition, books, school supplies, computers, housing, etc. The agreement should also include specific details about how long the additional child support obligation will continue and at what rate.
Additionally, the parents are allowed to agree to an open-ended commitment to pay for college-related expenses as long as the agreement specifically states that the commitment is open-ended.
Determining Child Support During the Divorce Process
The best time to settle child support arrangements for children who have yet to apply for college is during the parent's divorce process. A Bartow child support attorney can assist by working on getting the agreement settled at the time of the divorce.
This can be more challenging since it's not always possible to know the child's plans for college. Typically, most children do not decide where to attend college until they are nearing the later years of high school. Therefore, it may be difficult to create a concrete plan for child support in college. However, parents can have an agreement in place as part of the divorce decree that states the next step if the child chooses to further their education.
Contact a Seasoned Bartow Family Law Attorney
It is not in your best interests to make an informal agreement regarding support for a child attending college. Instead, a formal, legally binding plan should be agreed to so all parties know where they stand. An experienced child support attorney from Advocate Law Firm, P.A. is always available to provide superior guidance and comprehensive representation.
Contact our firm online or call us at (863) 644-5566 for a free consultation about your child support case.