Hillsborough County

11256 Boyette Rd, Riverview, FL 33569

Pasco County

2236 Ashley Oaks Circle, Ste. 102 Wesley Chapel, FL 33544

Main Phone

(813) 850-0025

You Have Reached the Family Law Offices of Summerfield Law, Riverview & Wesley Chapel, FL

What Happens to Child Support When My Child Turns 18?

what happens to child support when my child turns 18?

What Happens to Child Support When My Child Turns 18?

If you’re receiving child support, you may be wondering what happens when your child turns 18. Does the noncustodial parent’s obligation to pay child support end automatically? What if your child goes to college or has special needs? And can you enforce an order if payments stop? Here’s what you need to know about how turning 18 affects child support in Florida.

Child Support Typically Ends at 18what happens to child support when my child turns 18?

In Florida, the noncustodial parent’s legal obligation to pay child support usually ends when the child turns 18 years old or graduates from high school, whichever occurs later. There are some exceptions, which we’ll get into below. But in most cases, the child support order will terminate on the child’s 18th birthday.


There are certain situations where child support may continue past 18 in Florida:

  • If the child has special needs or disabilities that mean they cannot support themselves
  • If the child is still finishing high school, support usually continues until graduation
  • If the child goes on to college or vocational school, the noncustodial parent may still have to contribute to educational expenses

Options if Your Child Goes to College

Many child support agreements don’t address college expenses. So what happens if your 18-year-old is headed to college? Do they lose their child support? You may be able to get help from the noncustodial parent for college or vocational school if:

  • Your child support agreement specifically requires the other parent to contribute to college expenses
  • You’re able to modify the child support order

Modifying Existing Orders

The following is a DRAMATIZATION AND IS NOT AN ACTUAL EVENT: For example, James has a child support order requiring his ex-wife Lisa to pay $500 per month. When their child Sarah turns 18, she enrolls in a 4-year college program. James returns to court to modify the child support order to have Lisa contribute to Sarah’s college costs.

To modify a child support order, you must show that there has been a substantial change in circumstances, such as a child with continuing educational needs. You’ll need to negotiate the new amount with your ex, or let the judge decide what’s appropriate. If existing child support agreement doesn’t cover college costs, you may be able to modify the order. This requires filing a motion and showing:

  • There has been a substantial change in circumstances (like college enrollment)
  • The current child support amount is insufficient to meet needs
  • The noncustodial parent has the ability to contribute more

If approved, the judge can order the noncustodial parent to pay additional child support for college expenses.

No Guarantee

However, the court won’t always agree to modify an order. There are no guarantees additional support will be granted.

Enforcing Child Support if It Stops

The following is a DRAMATIZATION AND IS NOT AN ACTUAL EVENT:For example, Nicole has been receiving $800 per month in child support from her ex-husband Brian for their daughter Lily. When Lily turns 18 and graduates high school, Brian stops making payments without notice. Nicole can file a motion for enforcement asking the court to order Brian to pay the missed child support. She can request remedies like:

  • Payment of all child support arrears
  • Interest on unpaid amounts
  • Payment of Nicole’s attorney fees
  • Garnishing Brian’s wages

The court can use various tools like contempt orders, wage garnishment, tax refund interception, and liens on property to enforce a delinquent obligation.

Consult a Child Support Attorney

The rules around child support at 18 can be complex. They vary not only by state but also depend on your specific child support agreement. To understand how turning 18 will affect child support in your case, it’s important to speak with an experienced local child support lawyer. An attorney can:

  • Explain how the laws apply to your situation
  • Review your current child support order
  • Advise whether the order might be modified
  • Help negotiate adjustments or file motions as needed
  • Enforce the order if the other parent stops paying

With an attorney guiding you, you can have peace of mind knowing you’ll get the financial support you’re entitled to for your child.

Call for a Consultation

To learn more about child support and turning 18 in Florida, call Summerfield Law in Riverview at (813) 850-0025 or our Wesley Chapel Office at (352) 514-6865 today to schedule a consultation. Our experienced child support lawyers are here to help you and your child get what you need during this transition.

FAQswhat happens to child support when my child turns 18?

1. Can child support continue if my 18-year-old still lives at home?

In Florida, child support typically terminates at 18 regardless of whether the child still lives at home. An exception is if the child has special needs that prevent independence.

2. What if we have shared custody – does child support end at 18?

Yes, in Florida the noncustodial parent’s child support obligation ends at 18 even in shared custody situations, unless certain exceptions apply.

3. My ex isn’t paying support now – what can I do?

If your ex is already delinquent on child support before your child turns 18, you can file a motion to enforce the order and collect the arrears. Remedies like wage garnishment may be used.

Get the Child Support You Need During This Transition

Turning 18 is a big milestone. As a parent, you want to make sure your child continues to get the financial support they need during this transition. The laws around child support can be confusing, but an experienced family law attorney can help provide clarity.

At Summerfield Law , we are dedicated to protecting the rights of Florida parents and children. To schedule your consultation, call us at our Riverview Office at  (813) 850-0025 or in Wesley Chapel at 352) 514-6865.

Share This :
Close Popup

We use cookies to give you the best online experience. By agreeing you accept the use of cookies in accordance with our cookie policy.

Close Popup

Make an Appointment