When Can I Stop Paying Child Support?
Most parents who divorce or separate realize that one of them will likely be ordered to pay some amount of child support so long as the child is a minor. This is true regardless of whether the residential parent and the child continue to live in Florida following the divorce or separation. Failing to pay child support can result in the court and/or the State of Florida taking various measures to coerce you into paying what has been ordered by the court.
Over the course of a child’s life, there are several events that can occur. Any of these events can result in a child support order being either terminated or extended.
- When the Child Turns 18: In most cases, a child support order will terminate when the child turns 18 years old. If a parent is paying support for multiple children, the total child support amount owed is normally recalculated as each child turns 18. If a child is still in high school but is not in a position to graduate by the time he or she turns 19 years old, then child support will terminate on the child’s 18th birthday as well.
- When the Child Graduates High School: Some children may not have started school with other children their age or were held back for a year. If a child is making satisfactory progress toward graduating high school but has not graduated by the time he or she has turned 18, child support will continue until the child does in fact graduate high school (however, if it becomes apparent that the child will not graduate high school before turning 19 years old, the child support obligation may terminate before graduation).
- When the Child has Special or Specific Needs: Where a child has been diagnosed with having medical or other special needs that render the child dependent on the assistance of others, child support may be extended indefinitely. For example, the parent of a child who is unable to work due to physical or mental disabilities and cannot care for him- or herself may be required to pay child support for the rest of the child’s life.
Do I Need an Attorney to Stop My Child Support Payment?
Stopping child support payments is a risky move, even if the child has turned 18 or graduated high school. Failure to notify the proper agencies through the proper channels can result in you being accused of not paying child support. It is therefore advisable to hire an experienced child support attorney to help you with this process.
The family lawyers at All Family Law Group, P.A. are here to help you with all your child support-related questions and concerns. During your free consultation, we can review the facts of your situation and advise you as to whether your child support obligation is eligible for termination. If so, we will help you prepare, file, and argue for a termination of your child support obligation. Contact the Tampa divorce lawyers at our offices in Tampa Bay at 813-816-2232 for a consultation at no charge or email us.
By Lynette Silon-Laguna Google+