For most young adults, child support ends when they reach the age of 18. Adolescents who are still attending high school at this age may continue to receive child support until their nineteenth birthday under Florida law. Once a child becomes an adult, he or she is expected to find work and support him or herself. Of course, many parents opt to continue supporting their child beyond age 18, especially if the young adult chooses to attend college. And in some cases, a court may even require a parent to make post-secondary educational support to help the child attend school.
But what about young adults who can not support themselves because they suffer from significant physical or mental disabilities? If you are a parent of a child with a significant disability, you might find yourself wondering how you will continue to support him or her after your divorce and after you pass away.
Continuing Child Support for Special Needs Adults
In Florida, a parent may be required to continue paying child support for his or her child after the child reaches adulthood if the young man or woman suffers from a physical or mental disability that began before he or she reached adulthood. Generally, the court follows the Social Security Administration’s definition of an incapacitating disability when determining whether or not a parent must pay child support for a grown child.
Talk to your attorney about how your child support obligation may change when your disabled child turns 18. He or she might qualify for certain social services for the disabled at this point, which can reduce his or her need for parental financial support. Moving into a group home for disabled adults might also reduce the amount of child support you are required to pay because the home will meet some of his or her needs.
You and your spouse may include your child’s adulthood needs in your child support agreement when you divorce. In this agreement, you may specify the amount of support your child will receive each month when he or she reaches age 18 and how it may be used. You can also establish a trust fund to cover his or her expenses after you pass away. If you choose to establish a trust fund, you will need to appoint a trustee to disburse the money to your child or his or her caretaker as needed.
Child Support Attorney in Winter Park
If your child has special needs that will require him or her to continue receiving support after he or she enters adulthood, contact Sperling Ducker in Winter Park at 407-645-3297 to discuss how you can prepare for and handle this issue when the time comes during your initial legal consultation. Call our firm today to begin working on your child support case with us.