Will you have to keep paying support for the rest of your life?

Posted by Zachary A. VanDykeJan 28, 20210 Comments

It can cost thousands of dollars to get divorced, and you may lose tens of thousands of dollars in property value when you split everything with your ex. On top of all of that, you also have to think about paying support.

If you have children with your spouse, you will have to pay child support if they have more parenting time than you do. If your marriage meets certain criteria, it's possible that your spouse could ask for spousal support (alimony). Will you be on the hook for paying support for the rest of your life after your divorce?

Child support usually ends at a specific time

Child support in Florida usually ends when kids finish high school or reach the age of 18. However, parents sometimes reach their own agreement that could include paying support through a child's college years as well.

While the courts may approve these longer terms, they usually won't impose long-term child support obligations once a child turns 18. The exception to this rule is if your child has significant physical or mental disabilities. If they would qualify as fully disabled as an adult and will likely never live independently, the courts could order permanent child support.

Alimony also typically comes with an end date

Most forms of alimony are rehabilitative. That means the goal is to help the recipient get back on their feet, set up their own household or obtain new jobs. The court may only order it for a few years in many cases.

Still, there are situations in which permanent alimony could be necessary. If you divorce a spouse with serious health issues, the courts may order permanent alimony. The same is true of a marriage that lasted many years where your spouse stayed home to take care of the children or care for the house. Finally, full custody of a child who will have lifelong care needs might also necessitate ongoing alimony.

If you can't pay or if circumstances change, you can always file a modification request to change your support obligations. An experienced attorney can help you.