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Parental responsibility: When does the legal obligation end?

Parents never stop loving their children no matter how old they or their children get. But in terms of parental responsibility, there does come a time when most Florida parents are no longer legally obligated to their children, at least in most instances. Parents do have a legal obligation to provide support for their minor children until they reach 18 years of age.

If a parent's child has disabilities, the parent may be obligated to care for an adult child past the age of majority. Although parents typically aren't on the hook legally to provide for their kids after they reach 18, many still offer support while their child attends college and gets a job to become self-sufficient financially. There is one way, however, that parental obligations could end before the child is 18 and that is through emancipation.

Emancipation legally allows a minor to provide for him or herself without a parent's help. The same goes if the child joins the military or gets married. Any minor child seeking emancipation from his or her parents, must file a petition with the court, and a judge will decide based on the maturity level of the minor and whether the emancipation is in the best interests of the child.

A Florida lawyer can answer any questions pertaining to family law issues such as parental responsibility and emancipation of a minor. An attorney can shed light on any perplexing areas of the law when it comes to minor children. No matter what the issue, the law always takes into account what is in the best interests of a child.

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  • The Florida Bar| Board Certified | Marital & Family Law
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