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Can I Get Past Due Child Support In Florida If My Child Is Now An Adult?


The general rule in Florida is that child support payments end when a child reaches the age of eighteen. However, suppose a parent who was ordered to pay child support has been running away from their responsibility. In that case, the parent who is to receive child support maintains the right to collect “child support arrears” even after their child has turned eighteen.

Defining “Child Support Arrears”

After a child support order has been put in place, the obligor parent is required to pay the full amount of support ordered by the court. If a parent misses a child support payment or child support payments, they risk being in “arrears” and owing “child support arrears.” Simply put, child support arrears or “back” child support is the difference between what an obligor parent was ordered by the Court to pay as child support, and what they have actually paid.

Child Support Arrears v. Retroactive Child Support

It is vital to note that there is a difference between child support arrears and retroactive child support. In simple words, retroactive child support is “back pay” for a specific period of time before a child support order was put in place. Often, retroactive child support is awarded back to the date when a request for a child support order was made. However, in Florida, retroactive child support is sometimes awarded back to when a couple stopped living in the same household with their minor child(ren). On the other hand, child support arrears can only start adding up after a court has issued a child support order.

When Does a Parent Stop Paying Child Support Arrears?

Florida has not put a statute of limitations on collecting child support arrears. An obligor parent with child support arrears can be pursued indefinitely. Therefore, even after a child has grown up, a parent entitled to receive child support is entitled to seek collection of child support arrears. It is a myth that a parent is not obligated to pay child support arrears once a child turns eighteen.

Penalties for Failing To Pay Child Support in Florida

If a parent fails to keep up on their child support payment in Florida, they can face severe consequences. If the court finds an obligor parent in contempt, the Court can attempt to recover the arrears by issuing penalties. For example, a judge can order jail time. Other penalties that a parent who fails to keep up on their child support payment may be subject to include;

  • Professional licenses suspension
  • Seizure of tax refunds
  • Seizure of bank accounts
  • Seizure of lottery winnings
  • Driver’s license suspension

Contact a Fort Lauderdale Child Support Attorney

If your child’s other parent fails to keep up on their child support arrears on the basis that your child is now over the age of eighteen, reach out to a skilled family law attorney for legal help. An attorney can help you protect your rights and those of your child. Just because your child has reached the age of eighteen doesn’t mean the other parent is not obligated to pay child support arrears.

If you need help with collecting child support arrears, don’t hesitate to contact one of our skilled and dedicated Fort Lauderdale child custody attorneys at Joyce A. Julian, P.A., today. Call us on 954-467-6656 to schedule a consultation.


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