CUSTODY & SUPPORT FOR ADULT CHILDREN WITH DISABILITIES
According to Texas law, both parents have an obligation to support their children even after their marriage ends. In awarding custody and child support, the court considers many factors. Custody questions are resolved in favor of what the court finds is in the best interest of the children. This generally results in the noncustodial parent paying child support to the custodial parent.
Child support is ordered for a finite period of time. The obligor, the one who pays, has an obligation to pay support until the child for whom the parent is paying support turns 18, or finishes high school, depending which one occurs last. Child support also will terminate if a child under the age of 16 gets married or the minor child dies. In addition to support, the obligor is generally ordered to pay for the child’s health expenses including healthcare insurance. Different laws apply when a child is disabled.
Support for Adult Children with Disabilities
Texas Family Code β 154.302(a) allows the family court judge to order indefinite support for a child with disabilities when it is expected the disability will continue into adulthood. The following criteria must be met.
- The child will not be “capable of self-support” and will need “substantial care and supervision” because of a mental or physical disability; and,
- Either the disability, or the cause of the disability was known to exist before the child turned 18.
The person who has custody of the child will receive the support for the child. The reasoning behind the law is that the caretaker of the child will likely lose out on career opportunities due to the demands of caring for the child, transporting the child to rehabilitation and other services. Also, the costs for caring for an adult with disabilities is higher than the costs for caring for a typical child.
A motion for support for an adult child with disabilities may be brought at any time, even after the child turns 18. If it is known at the time of the dissolution that the child is disabled and the disability will continue through adulthood, the support may be ordered for an indefinite period of time. If the child becomes self-supporting, the obligor may move the court for a modification or termination of the support order.
Child Support and Public Benefits for Adult Children with Disabilities
When ordering child support for an adult child with disabilities, the court will consider:
- The needs of the child.
- All the financial resources available to both parents.
- Whether one parent will remain as the primary caregiver and provide personal supervision of the child.
- Any public resources and benefits available for the care, support and supervision of the adult child with disabilities.
Hire a Lawyer Experienced with Child Support for Adult Children with Disabilities
This is a complex area of family law. The court may adjust the amount of the support order depending on any benefits or government assistance the adult child receives. You need the assistance of Texas family law attorney Jeff Anderson who has nearly 20 years of experience assisting his clients who have adult children with disabilities. He will listen to your story with compassion and help you decide how to navigate through the court system and obtain court decisions that are in the best interest of your child.