Child support is one of the most important ways that a noncustodial parent may contribute to the upbringing of their child.
In Florida, parents may create child support agreements that dictate the financial terms by which they will share the raising of their children or they may allow the courts to promulgate orders that tell them who will pay child support and on what terms. In most cases, child support agreements and orders terminate when the children reach the age of majority or graduate from high school.
However, it is possible for child support obligations to endure beyond these general guidelines or to terminate in advance of them. For example, if a child suffers from a permanent medical condition that will require them to receive lifelong care, the child’s parents may agree that despite their separation or divorce they will both remain financially involved in the care of their child.
Additionally, certain life events may terminate a child’s support before they become an adult. A child who chooses to marry while still technically a child or who enlists in the military may see their child support payments stopped due to their life choices. The occurrence of these events in a child’s life should be discussed with a family law attorney before a parent elects to stop paying their agreed to or court-ordered child support obligation.
In sum, a parent may pay child support until a child becomes an adult, through college, for the rest of the child’s life, or any amount of time in between. Child support obligations are case-specific and parents should turn to their operating agreements and orders to better understand how long they will be committed to paying their children financial support.