Posted by Nydia Streets of Streets Law in Florida Child Support
Does a parent’s obligation to pay medical expenses for a child continue beyond the child’s 18th birthday? This question was answered in the case Dixon v. Dixon, 2D16-3099 (Fla. 2d DCA 2018) where the father appealed an order requiring him to continue paying for his child’s diabetes treatment after the child reached the age of 18.
In this case, when the child was still a minor, the parties’ final judgment of divorce obligated the father to pay over $170.00 per month toward the child’s diabetes treatments in addition to child support. The child support was modified later, and that order of modification ordered that the husband continue to pay the extra amount for the diabetes treatment. Both orders were silent on when the obligation to pay the extra amount would cease.
Once the child turned 18, the father filed a motion to determine his arrears. In the motion, he requested that the diabetes payments cease. The trial court denied the request to stop the extra payments, reasoning the final judgment did not have an end date on the payments and the mother was still paying for the treatments.
On appeal, the court held it was error for the court to require the payments to continue. Where the final judgment is silent on the end date, and the parties have not agreed otherwise, a child support obligation (including medical payments) ceases when a child reaches the age of majority. In this case, the final judgment was silent on the end date and the parties did not have an agreement for support to continue beyond the child’s 18th birthday.
This case shows why details matter in a Florida family law case. If you are facing a similar situation, contact a Miami child support lawyer for a consultation to go over your best options.