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How long does a child support obligation last?

Although a divorce ends the legal relationship between two people, Florida residents who were previously married may find themselves tied together by shared responsibilities that survive the end of their union. This is generally the case when the parties had children together who require custodial and financial care in the wake of their parents' divorce. For some parents required to pay child support, that responsibility can last for a very long time.

Most child support obligations end when the children reach the age of majority. That end point may be extended if they are still in high school or the child's parents may agree to continue to support them as the child pursues additional education. Children who emancipate from their parents may see their child support payments stop since the child has declared that they wish to take care of their own finances and provide for themselves.

Child support obligations can end in other ways. A child who marries or chooses to enlist in the military may have their support order terminated. Parents are generally not held to support obligations if their children have chosen paths that provide them with other sources of financial care.

Though most child support obligations do eventually end, some may last long into the future. This can be the case when a child suffers from an illness, injury or condition that prevents them from taking care of themselves or securing financial help from other sources. It is important that parents who choose to divorce understand the financial role that they will play in their children's lives. Their attorneys can offer them case-specific support on how to prepare to meet those legal obligations.

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