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Can You Get Support for a Child Who is Older than Eighteen in Florida?


Divorced or separated parents have a duty to provide basic financial support for their children. Either through an agreement or a court order, the non-custodial parent may be obligated to make monthly child support payments. As noted by the Florida Department of Revenue, authorities in the state are currently providing child support services to more than 1 million kids.

This raises an important question: When does child support end in Florida? Many people think the answer is the child’s 18th birthday—but that is not necessarily true. There are two very important exceptions. Here, our Tampa child support lawyers provide an overview of the circumstances in which parents can still recover financial support after their child turns 18.

Florida Child Support Laws: The Exceptions

The Graduation Rule: Graduation or 19th Birthday

Many children in Florida will turn 18 during their senior year of high school. In theory, this could mean that child support would be cut off a few months before they actually graduate, while they are still clearly dependent on the parents for their basic needs.

Florida’s child support statute contains a basic exception to address this issue. Under the child support graduation rule, non-custodial parents will still be required to make child support payments for a high school student who turns 18 during their senior year. These payments will last until the child’s graduation date or their 19th birthday, whichever comes first.

Note: this exception only applies to high school students who are on track to graduate. If a child drops out of high school, child support obligation cannot be extended on these grounds. Mandatory support will cut off on a child’s 18th birthday if they have already graduated or are not on track to graduate. 

Special Needs Children

Florida’s child support laws also have provisions for special needs children. If your child will never become a “self-supporting adult” in the eyes of Florida law, then child support can extend well beyond their 18th birthday—indeed, child support obligations may never end.

In the case of special needs children, how long child support will be extended depends entirely on the specific circumstances at hand. For example, if a disabled adult moves into a group home or receives public benefits, child support may be decreased, even terminated. As these are complicated cases, it is best to work with an experienced Tampa, FL child support attorney who can protect your parental rights and the interests of your child. It is crucial that parents of special needs children are able to access adequate financial support. 

Call Our Florida Child Support Attorney Today

At Bubley & Bubley, P.A., our Tampa family law attorneys have the skills and training needed to represent parents in complex child support cases. If you have questions about getting child support beyond your child’s 18th birthday, we are here to help. Contact our law firm now for a confidential consultation. We represent parents in Tampa and throughout Hillsborough County, Florida.






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