Terminate Child Support at 18

by Jody from Orange County, Florida

My son just turned 18 in Florida and is a Junior in High School.

He is dropping out of traditional HS and opting for an adult program at a local Community College.

My divorce papers say I only have to pay support until the age of 18 and a later modification stipulates the amount but not the age.

I would continue to pay support if he is in traditional High School, but am I legally obligated to continue support after 18 and after he drops the traditional High School? Also, do I just stop payments, or do I have to go back to court?

Answer to Florida Child Support Question

Dear Jody,

If the only order that states the age until which you must pay child support is the Final Judgment of Dissolution of Marriage, then that order governs your actions.

A later modification, may have changed the amount, but if the later modification did not extend the age, then your child support obligation ended at age 18.

However, my question is: If you were willing to pay child support beyond the age of 18 when your child was in traditional high school, why are you unwilling to continue to support him if he is in an Adult Education Program?

Did you know that over 60% of Florida high school seniors (in traditional high school) fail the GED exam on their first attempt?

I was happy to allow my son to complete his high school education at an Adult Ed program when I found out what was going on at his traditional high school: knife fights in the parking lot; sex in the bathrooms; and plenty of drugs.

As for your second question, if Child Support Enforcement is involved, you need to contact them to have your payments terminated, otherwise a supplemental petition to terminate child support should be filed with the original court.

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