Fagan v. Fagan, 78-2401

Decision Date27 February 1980
Docket NumberNo. 78-2401,78-2401
Citation381 So.2d 278
PartiesWilliam E. FAGAN, Appellant, v. Maude FAGAN, Appellee. /T4-280.
CourtFlorida District Court of Appeals

Frank M. Townsend of Townsend & Townsend, Kissimmee, for appellant.

Marvin E. Newman and Jon S. Rosenberg, Orlando, for appellee.

SHARP, Judge.

The former husband, William E. Fagan, appeals the lower court's Order on Motion for Enforcement filed by Maude Fagan, the former wife, to collect arrearages and enforce continuing child support payments for a child of the parties, who was over twenty-one years of age at the time of the enforcement proceeding and at the time the arrearages accrued. The appellant argues that the award of arrearages is erroneous because it is retroactive; that the lower court lacks jurisdiction to order arrearages or continuing support for this child; and that the former wife and mother is not the proper party to enforce the support judgment for the adult child. For the reasons stated in this opinion we disagree; and we affirm the trial court's order.

The marriage of the Fagans was dissolved by a Final Judgment dated August 17, 1973. Custody of the seventeen year-old twins, Bill and Susan, was granted to the wife; and Mr. Fagan was required to pay to the wife child support in the amount of $190.00 per month per child "until such time as each of them becomes self-supporting, married or emancipated (by any other reason than by virtue of reaching the age of eighteen.)" (Emphasis supplied). 1 In addition, the Judgment required the former husband to be responsible for all medical and related expenses for the care and treatment of the son, "occasioned by reason of his mental disorders, disabilities or impairments." Mr. Fagan made the child support payments for both children until they attained the age of 21 years, when he ceased any further support payments. Mrs. Fagan then sought enforcement of the Judgment to require Mr. Fagan to pay child support for both children from August 1977. The court denied any child support for the daughter, but based on testimony that the son was not capable of being self-supporting, the court required Mr. Fagan to pay child support of $190.00 per month for Bill, and a total of $380.00 per month until the arrearages were paid, plus interest. The lower court required Mrs. Fagan to put the funds so received in a joint savings account in her and her son's name. At the time of the hearing, the son was living with his mother, and all of the testimony before the Court indicated he would have to continue living in her home, indefinitely, because of mental problems.

Appellant first argues that the trial court erred because the award of arrearages was "retroactive", relying on Warren v. Warren, 306 So.2d 197 (Fla. 1st DCA 1974). Because of our view of the original Judgment, we do not consider the award of arrearages "retroactive" in this case. Further, the record does not demonstrate any error in the calculation of the arrearages.

Appellant argues that the dissolution court is an improper forum to enforce child-support payments for an adult child. He relies on Perla v. Perla, 58 So.2d 689 (Fla.1952). However since that case was decided, the Florida Legislature passed Florida's "No-Fault" Dissolution Law, Chapter 61, and many revisions thereto, and Chapter 743 relating to "Disability of Nonage." Section 743.07(2) of the Florida Statutes provides that the reduction of the age of majority to 18 years shall not prohibit "any court of competent jurisdiction from requiring support for a dependent person beyond the age of 18 years." (Emphasis supplied). The statute does not define the term, "court of competent jurisdiction." Section 61.13 empowers a court in a proceeding for dissolution of marriage to order a parent to pay child support. The court which enters such an order is expressly given "continuing jurisdiction" to modify the child support provisions when required by the best interest of the child, change of circumstances of the parties, or "when the child or any one of the children has reached the age of 18 years." Sec. 61.13(1), Fla.Stat. (1978). Clearly, the dissolution court is empowered to order child support for a child beyond the age of 18, if he is dependant, and such court is the proper forum to determine whether the status of dependency has ended, after the child attains the age of 18 years. Finn v. Finn, 312 So.2d 726 (Fla.1975); George v. George, 360 So.2d 1107 (Fla. 3rd DCA 1978); Kern v. Kern, 360 So.2d 482 (Fla. 4th DCA 1978). It is also a proper forum in which to enforce child support orders for such adult dependant children.

In this case, we construe the original Judgment entered by the lower court as constituting an order of support for a dependant child beyond the age of "majority." At the time of the Judgment the age of "majority" was eighteen years, 2 but, the Judgment expressly provided this child's becoming 18 would not terminate the child support obligation; and it required the appellant to pay all medical expenses for the son occasioned by his "mental disorders, disabilities, or impairments." No appeal was taken from...

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  • Ritz v. Florida Patient's Compensation Fund
    • United States
    • Florida District Court of Appeals
    • August 4, 1983
    ...of majority. 1 Support obligations for adult children mentally or physically disabled have been imposed on parents. See Fagan v. Fagan, 381 So.2d 278 (Fla. 5th DCA 1980); Fincham v. Levin, 155 So.2d 883 (Fla. 1st DCA We agree with Farber v. Olkon, and hold that where an adult child is incom......
  • Koltay v. Koltay
    • United States
    • Colorado Supreme Court
    • August 22, 1983
    ...which have not enacted the Uniform Act also support this view. See, e.g., Kamp v. Kamp, 640 P.2d 48 (Wyo.1980); Fagan v. Fagan, 381 So.2d 278 (Fla.Dist.Ct.App.1980); Dehm v. Dehm, 545 P.2d 525 (Utah 1976); McBride v. Lomheim, 82 S.D. 263, 144 N.W.2d 564 The father's remaining contentions ar......
  • Thomas v. Thomas, 82-511
    • United States
    • Florida District Court of Appeals
    • February 16, 1983
    ...the existence of an obligation to support adult dependent children. See, e.g., Perla v. Perla, 58 So.2d 689 (Fla.1952); Fagan v. Fagan, 381 So.2d 278 (Fla. 5th DCA 1980); Kern v. Kern, 360 So.2d 482 (Fla. 4th DCA 1978). That point need not be addressed in the instant case, however, because ......
  • Mintzer v. Mintzer
    • United States
    • Florida District Court of Appeals
    • April 26, 1988
    ...Adler v. Adler, 418 So.2d 1007, 1008 (Fla. 3d DCA 1982); Bregman v. Bregman, 388 So.2d 1285 (Fla. 3d DCA 1980); Fagan v. Fagan, 381 So.2d 278, 280 (Fla. 5th DCA 1980); Bullard v. Bullard, 380 So.2d 1090, 1091-92 (Fla. 3d DCA ...
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