FINAL UNTIL TIME EXPIRES TO FILE REHEARING MOTION AND, IF
from the Circuit Court for Sarasota County; Frederick P.
Chrystal R. Koch of Koch Law Firm, Sarasota, for Appellant.
appearance for Appellee.
Dixon, the former husband, appeals a supplemental judgment
for child support. We reverse the judgment in part because
the trial court adopted an erroneous finding by the hearing
officer that the former husband was required to continue
paying medical support payments for his oldest
child who had already reached the age of
majority. We affirm the other portions of the supplemental
judgment without further comment.
the facts are undisputed and the trial court's decision
rests on an issue of law, we review the judgment de novo.
Jarrard v. Jarrard, 157 So.3d 332, 337 n.5 (Fla. 2d
a child support order terminates automatically on a
child's eighteenth birthday. See Loza v. Marin,
198 So.3d 1017, 1020 (Fla. 2d DCA 2016) (citing §
61.13(1)(a)(1)(a), Fla. Stat. (2010)). This is because a
parent has no legal duty to continue to provide support to a
child who has reached the age of majority unless the trial
court has made a finding of dependence pursuant to section
743.07(2), Florida Statutes (2010),  or the parties otherwise
agree. Id. (citing § 61.13(1)(a)(1)(a));
see also Grapin v. Grapin, 450 So.2d 853, 854 (Fla.
1984); Stultz v. Stultz, 504 So.2d 5, 6 (Fla. 2d DCA
1986). The termination of a legal duty to support includes
support for medical services. See Ison v. Fla. Sanitarium
& Benevolent Ass'n, 302 So.2d 200, 201-02 (Fla.
4th DCA 1974) (holding that "the parent of an
emancipated child is not liable for his child's hospital
and medical services"). Thus "a 'final
judgment's silence on the continuing obligation of
support after the child's eighteenth birthday results in
the . . . [support] obligation . . . also terminating upon
the child's eighteenth birthday.' "
Loza, 198 So.3d at 1021 (alteration in original)
(quoting Phillips v. Phillips, 83 So.3d 903, 905
(Fla. 2d DCA 2012)).
at the time of the divorce between the former husband and the
former wife, Sandra Dixon a/k/a Sandra Pfundheller, the
parties' oldest child was still a minor. The final
judgment of dissolution of marriage required the former
husband to pay $176.67 per month towards the costs of
"ongoing" diabetes treatment for the parties'
oldest child. When the child support amount was amended in
April 2010, at a time when the oldest child was still a
minor, the $176.67 medical support payments were continued
"as previously ordered." Thus both the final
judgment of dissolution and the April 2010 order amending
child support were silent on the issue of whether the former
husband's obligation to pay the medical support payments
was to continue after the oldest child reached the age of
majority. And it is undisputed that the trial court never
made a finding that the oldest child was physically
incapacitated. Likewise, it is undisputed that the parties
never entered into an agreement that the former husband would
continue to pay the medical support payments beyond the
oldest child's eighteenth birthday.
hearing officer erred in treating the medical support
payments as a separate obligation that could not be modified
in the child support modification proceedings. In his pro se
motion to re-determine back child support, the former husband
sought to have his obligation to pay the medical support
payments cease due to the oldest child's emancipation
based on the child reaching the age of majority. And section
61.13(1)(a)(2)(b), addresses medical support payments within
the context of child support payments generally. Thus the
medical support payments were subject to modification in the
child support modification proceedings.
hearing officer then compounded the error by concluding that
the former husband was obligated to continue paying the
medical support payments because the final judgment of
dissolution "doesn't have a stopping date" and
because the former wife was still paying for the oldest
child's diabetes treatment. As we have already explained,
both the final judgment and the April 2010 order amending
child support were silent on the continuing nature of the
medical support payments once the oldest child reached the
age of majority. Consequently, the former husband's
obligation to pay the medical support payments ended once the
oldest child turned eighteen. See Loza, 198 So.3d at
the trial court erred in adopting the erroneous findings of
the hearing officer, we reverse the portion of the
supplemental judgment for child support which continues the
former husband's obligation to pay the $176.67 medical
support payments. On remand, the trial court should
recalculate the former husband's arrearages consistent
with this opinion. See Gilbert v. Cole, 107 So.3d
426, 427-28 (Fla. 1st DCA 2012) (explaining that where a
child support award is allocated between children and the
obligor's support obligation as to one child ends upon
the occurrence of the child's emancipation, "the
obligor is entitled to a retroactive reduction pre-dating a
modification petition, consistent with the statutory child
support guidelines"); Karten v. Karten, 983
So.2d 17, 19 (Fla. 3d DCA 2008) (explaining that obligation
of support terminates automatically upon a child attaining
the age of majority and that "[i]f there must be resort
to the court for recalculation of the child support amount
for the remaining children, then the recalculation is
retroactive to the date the child attained eighteen (or had
another qualifying event)"). In all other respects, the
supplemental judgment for child support is affirmed.
in part, reversed in part, and remanded for proceedings in