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What Happens to my Parenting Plan When my Child Goes Off to College?


Your child graduating from high school and heading off to college is a big moment for any parent. When your child heads away to college – or even if your child opts to stay local and instead attend a community college or vocational program, his or her schedule will inevitably change once he or she is out of high school. This schedule change means your parenting plan will terminate.

As your child prepares to graduate from high school and move into the next phase of his or her life, continue to maintain a relationship with him or her. Once your parenting plan terminates, you and your child have no legal obligation to spend time together; the relationship you have is completely at your discretion.

When Parenting Plans Terminate in Florida

When the court creates a parenting plan, it is legally enforceable until the child turns 18. While the order is in place, either parent may request that it be modified to better suit the child’s needs at that time.

Your child support order is a bit different. This order terminates when your child turns 18 unless he or she has not yet graduated from high school on his or her 18th birthday. When this is the case, child support ends when your child turns 19 or graduates from high school, whichever comes first.

You cannot be ordered to pay child support for a non-disabled young adult. In some states, parents may be required to contribute to their grown children’s higher education expenses, but Florida is not one of these states. You and your spouse may agree to both contribute to your child’s college costs after your divorce, but the court cannot require you to.

Your Relationship with your Adult Child

In many families, young adults who have graduated from high school and live locally simply continue to visit the non-custodial parent on a schedule similar to the one outlined in their parenting plan. This is an easy choice when a young adult continues to live locally.

For young adults who move away from their parents’ homes, it can be helpful to establish visit schedules for holidays and school breaks before the young adult moves away. By doing this, the adult child can make time for both parents and all family members can establish new expectations and boundaries. It is not always easy to transition to life after an adult child moves away, but with open communication and flexibility, it can be fairly straightforward.

Work with an Experienced Orlando Child Support Lawyer

When your child becomes an adult, your parenting plan and your child support order terminate. That does not mean your financial obligations to your child necessarily end, nor does it mean your personal relationship with him or her has to end. To learn more about how parenting plans are developed and how they change as a child grows, schedule your initial legal consultation with an experienced child support lawyer. Contact the Law Offices of Steve W. Marsee, P.A. today to set up your initial consultation.




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