Child Support for Adult Special Needs Children
California law does not require child support for a special-needs child to continue past the age of majority. Accordingly, it’s important for parents to plan in advance and outline the financial support that a child with special needs will require and who will pay for it. Parents need to put in writing who will be financially responsible for the child after the age of 18, especially if the child is severely disabled or unable to work.
In addition, most special-needs children have foreseeable, recurring expenses, such as the cost of medications and therapies, and educational costs. For this reason, it is reasonable for the custodial parent to request additional child support to cover these and other expenses. Consult a child support lawyer to learn what factors will determine each parent’s financial responsibility as well as government assistance that may be available.
Creating a Financial Plan
The costs to support a special needs child can be overwhelming to parents who have not planned for the additional expenses. Creating a financial plan will be up to the parents as there is limited legislative guidance on how parents should plan for the additional costs. The California Family Code Section 3910 does offer a starting point for child support negotiations:
(a) The father and mother have an equal responsibility to maintain, to the extent of their ability, a child of whatever age who is incapacitated from earning a living and without sufficient means.
(b) Nothing in this section limits the duty of support under Sections 3900 and 3901.Cal Fam. Code 3910
As a result, California family courts typically order both parents to continue to support their disabled child throughout their life. Fortunately for many parents government assistance does help with the additional expenses.
Government Support for Special Needs Children
In today’s economy, many parents cannot afford the high costs associated with raising a child with special needs. As a result, parents rely on government benefits to help with the extra expenses. A common scenario involves social security benefits that provide financial assistance to a special needs child. It is important to understand that any aid received will be taken into consideration by the family courts in California when setting child support. If you are the parent of a special needs child who is about to become an adult, speak with a family law attorney to understand your options to give your child the financial support they will need.