In the United States, a child reaches the age of majority on his or her eighteenth birthday. This means that he or she is a legal adult. Although many parents voluntarily continue to provide for their child at and beyond age eighteen, child support orders are generally designed to end at this age because the young adult is old enough to work full time and provide for him or herself. But what about young adults who suffer from significant mental or physical disabilities that prevent them from providing for themselves?
If you are a parent of a special needs child, you may stipulate in your child support agreement that your spouse continue making payments for him or her after he or she becomes an adult. In fact, if you do not include this requirement in your child support agreement, the court may require the paying parent to continue making child support payments until the young adult is able to support him or herself. In extreme cases, this could mean for the remainder of the parent or child’s life.
If your son or daughter is able to hold a part time job, the court may consider this when determining an appropriate amount of child support for you to pay. Other factors may be considered as well, such as whether he or she lives with your former spouse or in a group home. The extent of his or her needs may also be considered as well as any support from social services he or she receives.
It is important that you consider your child’s support after you pass away. Many parents opt to set up trust funds to provide for their disabled children when they no longer can. Talk to a probate lawyer about setting up a trust fund for your child and assigning a trustee to ensure that he or she receives the money and his or her needs are met.
Contact The Law Office of Eric B. Hannum Esq., LLC. at (732) 365-3299 to learn more about how child support is calculated and how your child’s special needs may mean you have to continue paying after he or she becomes an adult. It is your responsibility as a parent to provide for your child when he or she can not. Our firm proudly serves parents and families in Ocean, Monmouth, Mercer, and Burlington counties and will provide your family with the dedication and courteous, professional legal service that you deserve.