YES. There are 3 occasions when the Court may order parents to continue to pay child support for a child who is older than 18 years of age.
1. When the parents agree and it is included in their marital settlement agreement and/or parenting plan. Generally, once a child reaches the age of 18, the Court loses its authority to order a parent to pay support for the child. However, if during the dissolution process the parents agree, for whatever reason, that child support should continue, then the Court may adopt their agreement and incorporated into a final judgment, which will then become enforceable. Most often this is used to provide the child with assistance and support while they attend college, but can be used as a means for repayment of retroactive child support. While parents cannot contract away, a child’s right to support, agreements to pay child support beyond the age of 18 become contracts, that the Court is fully authorized to enforce.
2. If the child turns 18 while attending high school and is expected to graduate prior to his/her 19th birthday, child support will be ordered to continue until the child graduates. The law is very clear that the child MUST graduate prior to turning 19 years of age. Not a day later.
3. Finally, Fla. Stat. Section 61.13(1)(a)(1)(a), provides that “the court may at any time order either or both parents who owe a duty of support to a child to pay support to the other parent,” and this duty ceases after the “child’s eighteenth birthday unless the court finds or previously found that s. 743.07(2) applies, or is otherwise agreed to by the parties.” In turn, section 743.07(2) empowers the court to require support “for a dependent person beyond the age of 18 years when such dependency is because of a mental or physical incapacity which began prior to such person reaching majority or if the person is dependent in fact, is between the ages of 18 and 19, and is still in high school, performing in good faith with a reasonable expectation of graduation before the age of 19.
If you need assistance with a child support issue, our office can help. Call 407-343-4730 for a consultation.
Gail Linscott Silva