When Can I Stop Paying Child Support?

Tuesday, January 17, 2017

When Can I Stop Paying Child Support? 

In most divorces where the couple has minor children, one parent is required to make child support payments to the other to contribute toward the costs of raising the children. When the children become adults, they ideally become self-supporting and no longer need financial aid from their parents. In some cases, child support can extend into adulthood if a young adult cannot be financially self-sufficient, either because he or she is still in high school or because he or she has a mental or physical disability that prevents it. In other cases, child support can end while the recipient is still a minor. This can occur if the child becomes legally emancipated.

Below is a guide to all the events that can terminate a child support order in Florida.

High School Graduation

Typically, child support ends when a child becomes an adult, which is the age of 18 in the United States. But because many young adults are still in high school beyond their 18th birthdays, Florida law permits child support to extend until the recipient finishes high school. In Florida, high school graduation and child support termination coincide as follows:

  • If the recipient graduates before turning 18, child support ends on his or her 18th birthday;

  • If the recipient graduates after turning 18, but before turning 19, child support ends when he or she graduates;

  • If the recipient graduates after turning 19, child support ends on his or her 19th birthday; and

  • If the recipient is not on a realistic track to finish high school by his or her 19th birthday, child support terminates on his or her 18th birthday.

Legal Emancipation

Emancipation is the legal status of being an independent adult. Except for in cases where the young man or woman has special needs that impede his or her independence, an adolescent is automatically emancipated on his or her 18th birthday. But when an adolescent aged 16 or 17 is financially independent, he or she can petition to the court to become legally emancipated. If the court grants the emancipation, all child support obligations for the adolescent end.

There are two other events that trigger an automatic emancipation and thus, release a parent from his or her support obligation:

  • The child’s marriage; and

  • The child’s enlistment in the United States military.

Draper Law Office Can Help you Manage your Child Support Obligation

Discuss your child support order with an experienced family lawyer to understand its specific details better. Every family’s situation is unique, and you could find your child support obligation terminated early or extending into your child’s adulthood, depending on your circumstances. Call Draper Law Office today at (866) 767-4711 or visit us online to set up your free, no-obligation consultation in one of our three convenient offices.


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