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Child support, like all financial issues in divorce, can be a point of contention. Even when parents want to do what is best for their child or children, they might not agree on how much money should exchange hands for the care of a child once the divorce is final. Additionally, there can be disputes over how child support is used by either parent. Often, issues related to child support require the intervention of the court.

In Florida, children are eligible for child support until the age of 18 or until the child graduates from high school if this occurs after the age of 18, but by the age 19.

Child support is used to balance the responsibility for providing for and caring for a child between parents. It can comprise a direct payment of a certain amount or it can be paid indirectly, such as through the payment of a mortgage, insurance, or healthcare expenses, or it can be any combination of these things.

In determining the amount and method of child support payments, the court evaluates the current lifestyle of the child and his or her living arrangements. Typically, the non-custodial parent has the responsibility of paying child support since the court considers the time and effort the custodial parent invests in the child his or her contribution to support. This is not always the case though, and every family is unique. It’s important to work closely with an attorney when dealing with child support issues.

Child Support Enforcement

Often, even when things go smoothly during the process of determining child support, there are issues as payments are due. Child support is a court order, so if a parent misses a payment it is a legal matter and will be enforced by the court. If your child’s other parent has missed child support payments you have a right to take legal action.

The court has the power to ensure your child receives payments due and can take actions such as garnishing wages, suspending drivers’ licenses, issuing contempt of court charges, and deferring state and federal income tax refunds on your child’s behalf. You should never assume you and your child have no recourse to collect child support payments if his or her other parent has not been meeting the obligation.

Child Support Termination

In Florida, the obligation to pay child support terminates when a child reaches 18 or graduates from high school before 19 years old. Child support payments are determined for each child, and continue for each child even if an older sibling ages out of support.

There are exceptions, and child support obligations can continue into adulthood for those who are physically or mentally disabled. Child support obligations might also end earlier in some cases, such as when a child marries or enters the military before payments would otherwise end.

If you have questions about child support or you believe your child is owed support payments he or she has not received, we can help. Contact The Law Offices of Robert M. Geller at 813-254-5696 or use our online contact form to request information.

Call (813) 254-5696 anytime, or use this contact form, for your free initial consultation.
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