Support For A Dependent Adult Child
In the strong majority of Florida child support agreements, monetary support will cease at the time the child (or children) reach age 18. However, there are exceptions, particularly when there continues to be a demonstrated need for financial support to continue. Adult children who remain dependent on their parents past the age of 18 are one of the most common cases where support may continue, but this is heavily context-dependent.
When Does The Duty Of Support End?
Florida law explicitly recognizes that parents owe a duty of support to their children, which cannot be waived. The law also states that any child support order that went into effect after October 1, 2010 must terminate on a child’s 18th birthday unless certain factors apply – namely, if a 19 or 20 year old has not yet completed secondary school, or if a child over the age of 18 has a “mental or physical incapacity,” as long as the disability began before they reached the age of majority.
Despite the relatively straightforward nature of the law itself, there are still several details over which a person can contest their obligation of support. For example, in 2023, it is still possible to have an active support order that came into effect after 2010. Orders that predate that month and year do not always have language that terminates support on a child’s 18th birthday.
An Adult Child Has The Right To Seek Support
An important distinction that should be observed in Florida law is that as long as a child’s disability occurred before they reached the age of 18, that child has the right to seek support from their parent or parents if they believe it to be necessary. A recent case from the Third District Court of Appeal dealt with this issue – a 27-year old woman with Down Syndrome sought support from her father, and while her initial petition was denied, the Court of Appeal overturned.
The reason the Third District Court of Appeal gave for overturning the lower court’s ruling was twofold; first, the court held that the parental duty of support for a child does not end if that child has a mental or physical disability; and second, the fact that the young woman was 27 years old was irrelevant – her disability manifested before age 18, preserving the right to seek support at any time.
Contact A Hollywood, FL Child Support Attorney
While the cases of adult dependent children seeking support are a small percentage, their needs are real. If you have an adult child with a disability, or if you are seeking support from your parent or parents, calling an experienced Hollywood child support attorney from the Law Offices of Steven A. Mason, P.A. can hopefully help to get some of your questions answered. Contact our office at (954) 963-5900 to speak to an attorney.