Call 24/7 - Orlando






Child Support After the Age of Eighteen (18) in Florida

In the sunny state of Florida, the law typically expects parents to support their children financially until they reach the age of 18. This milestone, known as the age of majority, marks the transition from childhood to adulthood in the eyes of the law, suggesting that young adults can now support themselves. 

However, life is complex, and not all young adults are ready to shoulder the full weight of their financial needs the moment they blow out 18 birthday candles. Recognizing this, Florida law provides for certain exceptions where support may need to extend beyond this age. This article aims to explain these exceptions, guiding parents through scenarios where extended support might be necessary.

Understanding the Basics

At its core, the principle is straightforward: child support in Florida ends when a child turns 18. This rule stems from a broader legal understanding that reaching 18 years old marks an individual’s entrance into legal adulthood, equipped with the rights and responsibilities that come with it. However, exceptions to this rule acknowledge that not every young adult can independently meet their financial needs upon reaching this legal milestone.

Exceptions to the Rule

Support for Young Adults with Disabilities

The law carves out a significant exception for young adults under 18 who have a mental or physical disability that impairs their ability to support themselves. This condition must be one that existed before they turned 18. In such cases, the law understands that these young adults may continue to depend on their parents for support well beyond the typical age of majority. This provision ensures that those most vulnerable receive the continued support they need to live dignified lives. A dependent child whose disability began before he or she reached the age of majority has a right to support from both parents under Fla. Stat. § 743.07(2).

Continuing Education for High School Students

Another notable exception applies to young adults between the ages of 18 and 19 who are still in high school and expected to graduate before they turn 19. This exception is designed to ensure that young adults on the cusp of adulthood can complete their secondary education without the added stress of financial insecurity. By allowing child support to continue in this transitional period, the law supports the completion of high school education, laying a stronger foundation for the young adult’s future.

How to Request Extended Support

It’s worth noting that requesting extended child support typically involves legal paperwork and possibly court hearings. The process of requesting extended support is time-sensitive and requires understanding certain legal procedures:

  • Before the Age of Majority: If you anticipate the need for extended support due to your child’s disability or because they are still in high school, it is crucial to initiate this request before they reach 18 or graduate from high school. Otherwise, the trial court lacks jurisdiction to extend child support for the minor child where such a request is made after the child reaches the age of majority.
  • Independence of the Right to Support for the Young Adult: For young adults with disabilities, the law provides a pathway to seek financial support directly from their parents, even after reaching the age of majority. This ensures that those who cannot support themselves due to their condition have the means to seek assistance.

Key Takeaways

While the default expectation in Florida is for child support to end at 18, the law provides exceptions. Whether due to disability or ongoing education, these exceptions ensure that support continues for those who need it most during critical transitional periods. For parents in these situations, awareness of the exceptions and understanding how to request extended support are crucial. 

Acting promptly and with informed guidance can make a significant difference in ensuring that young adults receive the support they need to thrive beyond the age of majority. 

In essence, while turning 18 may signify legal adulthood, Florida law acknowledges that the path to independence can vary greatly. Through its exceptions for extended child support, the law offers a safety net for young adults facing unique challenges, ensuring that their journey into adulthood is supported with compassion and understanding.


Ready to protect your child’s financial support rights beyond the age of 18? Call Dewitt Law Firm today!