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How Long Does a Support Order Last?

Support orders allow children and divorcees to maintain the same standard of living that they enjoyed prior to a divorce. They also allow unwed parents to provide for their children despite their marital status. However, there may come a point when continuing support payments becomes difficult or unnecessary. When does a support order end? How long are you bound to a decree that was set before the inevitable evolvement of life?

At the Law Offices of Manuel Fajardo, we can help you understand the when child support or alimony payments may end, as well as how you can modify them to fit your changing lifestyle. Life is fluid, and the law can be too with the right attorney in your corner.

Child Support Terms

Parents are legally obligated to support and provide for their children to the best of their ability, however, this is not permanent. This is both because a parent’s financial status may change over time and because children eventually grow up and become independent. Typically, child support orders end when the youngest child turns 18.

Exceptions to typical child support terms include:

  • If a child legally emancipates before the age of 18, the support order is terminated
  • The duty to pay extends if a child is an 18-year-old full-time high school student until that child turns 19 or graduates, whichever comes first
  • If a child of any age is unable to earn a living and incapacitated, both parents are obligated to provide support as they are able.
  • If parents should agree to it, a child support order could extend beyond the legal requirements

While you are legally responsible for payments until the child is 18, the amount you are required to pay can be modified. Life brings change, and it is important to ensure that your support order reflects your financial status as it evolves. Child support modifications can be requested due to certain medical emergencies or disability conditions, employment changes, cost of living increases, or changes to recipient parent’s household income.

Further questions about child support? Learn more.

When does alimony end?

Alimony terms differ from child support in that divorcees are not necessarily permanently legally obligated to support each other. While most support orders are legally termed as “permanent,” their implications are meant to be long-term following a divorce, but not always permanent, and there are certain factors that determine their time frame.

The length of time an alimony lasts depends on the following:

  • The length of the marriage; marriages under ten years will result in alimony agreements lasting no more than half of the time the marriage lasted
  • The recipient’s current eligibility for employment and the length of time required for the education or training necessary to gain more marketable skills
  • If and when the recipient spouse remarries and gains additional household income
  • If a spouse is elderly or has health problems, the support may be ordered permanently

Visit our alimony page for more information.

Need help with modifications?

If you need to change the length or amount of your ordered support payments, our Tampa divorce lawyers at the Law Offices of Manuel Fajardo can help. Our team of legal professionals has the efficiency that you need to ensure that you remain legally compliant while your life and finances evolve. We’ll guide you through the modification process smoothly and quickly. Get started with a free case evaluation; schedule yours today!