Anyone can easily fall behind in child support payments. When this happens, most people will work to pay off arrears quickly. However, if you have a situation where your child’s other parent owes you a large amount of back support, you may be waiting a long time to collect it.
This may lead you to wonder what will happen if the other parent does not pay it off by the time your child is 18 years old. According to the Florida Department of Revenue, child support obligations typically end at age 18, but if a person owes arrears, he or she must pay it in full. There is no forgiveness for this type of debt.
The reason he or she must pay the money is that the law states all parents have a financial obligation to support their children until they reach independence. In most cases, this means age 18, but it can extend in special circumstances.
All back owed child support was money meant to care for the child while he or she was still underage and dependent. It was assessed during a time when the parent had a legal obligation. So, this is why there is no forgiveness even when your child is grown.
You will still receive any child support payments made on arrears because it is money owed to you. During the time the other parent should have made the payment, you were taking on 100% of the financial obligation to care for your child. The arrear payments are simply paying you back.
The bottom line is that you have a right to keep any overdue child support payments paid after your child turns 18, but it is up to you what you want to do with that money.