Today’s blog post from the attorneys with the
Law Office of Bryan Fagan will discuss matters related to child support considerations to take when
your child has special needs. Specifically whether or not you will need
to plan for and negotiate for the ability for you to receive
child support after your child turns eighteen or graduates from high school. If you
have not done so already I would recommend that you go bac to yesterday’s
blog post to read about raising a child with special needs.
Child Support law in Texas
Child Support will typically come to an end for the owing parent (called an
Obligor) whenever their child either turns eighteen or graduates from high school,
whichever occurs later. So long as your child is eighteen when he or she
graduates from high school your child support obligation should stop at
least according to your
Final Decree of Divorce. Any support you choose to, or choose not to, provide at that point is
up to you and your own sense of what your child needs to thrive.
If your child has special needs, however, their ability to just pick up
and start to support themselves after graduation from high school is not
always possible. There are functioning adults with disabilities that support
themselves, certainly. There are many others that are not as fortunate.
If your ex-spouse is charged with caring for your special needs child
then the financial burdens associated with doing so can be quite onerous.
Removing a steady source of income in the form of your child support can
be extremely tough to deal with, as a result.
When it comes to children with disabilities and special needs, the State
of Texas has acknowledged that there is often times a need and a justification
for extending out the obligation for an obligor parent to pay child support
past the eighteenth birthday, even in the event that your child does not
graduate from high school.
How special needs children can receive child support after age 18
Texas Family Code there are laws in place that provide an option for child support ton continue for a
special needs child beyond his or her 18th birthday. In order to quality a child must require care and supervision
on a personal level due to their mental or physical disability. As we
discussed earlier in this blog post, your special needs child is unlikely
to be able to support themselves after he or she turns 18. This actually
needs to be proven in order to have child support extended into the age
of majority for your child.
If you are a parent who will have primary
conservatorship rights to your special needs child then it would be ideal for you to be
able to take into consideration the future needs of your child during
a divorce or child custody case. This allows you to negotiate for specific
provisions to be contained your final orders that can provide for child
support beyond the age of 18. Getting this squared away relatively early
in your child’s life as well as negating any future need to come
to the courthouse is a nice combination of achievements for one family law case.
In the event that your child develops special needs after your initial
child custody or divorce case you can come back to have the issue discussed by filing
another lawsuit requesting that your child be able to receive child support
past the age of 18. In some instances even your adult child can bring
the lawsuit him or herself, but in most situations you as the parent would
file this case.
A judge’s considerations to make when deciding whether to order child
support past age 18
The judge will need to weigh whether or not your child will require the
requisite care, attention and supervision that the law states in the Texas
Family Code make post-18 support possible. Both you and the child’s
other parent are potentially on the hook to provide support in this instance.
Whereas most children who receive child support are paid through the Office
of the Attorney General, adult disabled children are often given the ability
to be paid directly by a parent or parents.
How much money can be ordered to be paid for the care of a disabled adult child?
We’ve spent the majority of today’s blog post going over the
circumstances in which a judge would be justified in ordering continued
child support for a child over the age of 18. On the other end of the
spectrum, if we consider how much a court can award in support in terms
of money, the law is not nearly as specific.
The judge will likely approach this question based on the specific needs
of your child. The current and future needs of your child relating to
care and supervision are to be considered. This means medical attention
and third party assistance if necessary. If one parent is stating that
he or she will provide the majority of direct care for the child on a
daily basis this too will be taken into consideration. Finally, the financial
resources available to you and your child’s other parent will be
considered. If both of you are doing well financially it is possible that
a judge could order more sizeable amounts of child support to be paid.
Questions or concerns about child support for your disabled or special
needs child? Contact the Law Office of Bryan Fagan
If after reading this blog post you have come to conclusion that your child
will need support after he or she turns 18, then the best way to ensure
that this support is received is to be proactive.
Law Office of Bryan Fagan today to discuss the services that our office can provide for you and
Our licensed family law attorneys work on behalf of clients across southeast
Texas and would be honored to do the same for you and your family. A free
of charge consultation is only a phone call away.