When you divorce, the divorce decree will have a lot of rights and responsibilities for both spouses. For childless couples, that divorce decree will likely be the end of their relationship. However, for divorcing parents, that divorce decree is just the beginning of their co-parenting life together.
Child support and visitation
In addition to any ongoing alimony payments, the Florida divorce decree will outline your child support and visitation schedule. It will also outline which parent gets to make decisions for the child, or if they are to be made jointly.
Your attorney should collaborate with your spouse’s attorney to ensure that the divorce decree is fair. Otherwise, you may find yourself paying way more than you should, and not seeing your kids as much as you would like and are entitled to.
Of course, we know that Florida child custody technically ends when the child turns 18, but what about child support?
As it turns out, child support usually ends at 18 as well. Indeed, right on their 18th birthday. However, if they are still in high school, it can be extended up to their 19th birthday.
Also note that if your child has a mental or physical impairment, child support could be ordered for the entirety of your child’s life. In fact, if your child is cared for at a facility, both parents could be ordered to pay child support to that facility.
Can the child end it?
Yes. If the child is emancipated, then their child support ends. If they join the Army or other armed services, the child support end, and it ends if the child dies.
Can we agree to something different?
Of course. The beauty of the Florida divorce legal process, just like any legal process, the parties can come to an agreement on their own. It will need to be approved by the judge and vetted by each spouse’s respective attorney, of course.
Through negotiations, the parties may come to an agreement that extends child support past 18, and that can be written into the divorce decree. And, the divorce decree and child support order can be modified later, should the circumstances of the parties change.
This is where a creative attorney can help craft a divorce settlement in the best interests of the kids and the soon-to-be ex-spouses.