In most cases, child support ends when a child turns 18. If the young adult is still in high school at this birthday, support for him or her may continue until he or she graduates or reaches the age of 19. In some cases, a parent may be required to help pay for some of his or her grown child's college expenses. But what about a child support and special needs situation?
If you are a parent of a child with special needs, you might have wondered what will happen to your child support agreement once he or she reaches adulthood.
Legal Requirements for Child Support
The Illinois Marriage and Dissolution of Marriage Act addresses the requirements for parents to pay child support for minor children and adult children with special needs. It outlines the factors the court may use to determine a divorcing couple's child support agreement.
Many couples specify the amount of support and its dispersal method for their special needs child's adult years in their child support agreement. If the child is already an adult when the couple divorces, the custodial parent must file an application for a child support order
from the court. This application must be approved by the Illinois Division of Child Support Services
for the grown child to receive financial support. The court asks the following questions when examining the case to determine whether continuing support is necessary:
- Does the young man or woman's mental or physical disability make it impossible for him or her to earn a living and live independently? If not, does he or she live in a group home for disabled adults?
- Does the parent being asked to pay have the financial resources to do so? Does the other parent have a financial need for the young adult's care?
- What are the young adult's health care needs and their costs? Does he or she need medication, regular therapy sessions, or expensive medical equipment?
Talk to your attorney about the possibility of having your child support order extended into your child's adulthood. You might also want to discuss your child's ongoing care with your financial adviser. Many parents of adults with special needs set up trust funds for their child to provide for them after their deaths. Discuss this option with your former spouse to determine whether it is a viable choice for your adult child. If you take this option, you will need to assign a trustee to manage the fund and ensure that it goes to your child after your death.
Child Support Attorneys in DuPage County
If you are a parent of a special needs child, you need to know how your child support order may continue or change once he or she reaches the age of 18. Contact a knowledgeable DuPage County family lawyer. The Andrew Cores Family Law Group proudly advocates for Illinois parents and families and will provide you with comprehensive answers to any legal questions you have.