Child Support for College Kids

By The Law Offices of Ronald H. Kauffman of Ronald H. Kauffman, P.A. posted in Child Support on Monday, May 9, 2016.

An Italian court ordered a father to support his 28-year-old son. The Italians call it “Bamboccioni” – spoilt big babies. Must Florida parents pay child support to a 28-year old “child”?

According to Britain’s Telegraph, the Italian father went to court protesting supporting his adult son. He was challenging a term of his divorce settlement, that said he must pay for tertiary education.

The son completed his degree in literature, taking several years longer than expected to finish the course, and enrolled in a post-graduate course in experimental cinema in Bologna.

The father argued that his son should get a part-time job and start paying his own way. But the civil court ruled that the cinema course is in keeping with the son’s “personal aspirations” and must be paid for by his father.

Around 65% of Italians aged 18 to 34 still live with their parents, the highest percentage of young stay-at-homes anywhere in Europe.

The problem of adult children taking their parents to court for money is so acute that the Italian Association of Matrimonial Lawyers has called for an age limit to be set by the Supreme Court in Rome.

I’ve written about parents having to support their children into adulthood before. In Florida, the duty to provide support for a child is based upon the child’s incapacity and the child’s need of protection and care.

A parent’s legal duty to support his child usually ends at the age of majority – 18. But, a parent will still owe a duty of support to an adult child in extraordinary circumstances, such as when the child suffers severe physical or mental incapacitation.

Recently, Florida’s child support statute was changed to require all judgments awarding child support to include a provisions stating that child support will terminate on the child’s 18th birthday unless the court finds otherwise, or it is otherwise agreed to.

To extend support beyond age 18, there must be a child who is dependent due to mental or physical incapacity that began prior to age 18; or the child has reached 18, is still living at home, attending high school, and reasonably expects to graduate high school before age 19.

The difficult question is what kind of mental or physical incapacity justifies an extension of child support. If a child lives at home and is suffering from a mild physical disability or a moderate psychological disorder, would that be severe enough? Obviously, Bamboccionis are not going to justify the award.

The Telegraph article is here.