Parents Giving Money to a Disabled Adult Child

By Elizabeth Rayne

A divorce does not terminate parents' financial responsibility to their children, and parents of a disabled child generally must continue to provide support after the child turns 18. Support may be requested by either parent or the adult child himself. Because of complications with government benefits, parents may consider setting up a special needs trust to give money to their adult disabled child.

Child Support Obligation

When parents divorce, they have an obligation to continue to provide financial support for their children, either directly to the child or by sending child support payments to the other parent. Typically, this obligation ends when the child reaches the age of majority, usually 18. However, if the child is disabled, which generally means he cannot financially support himself due to a physical or mental impairment, parents are typically required to provide financial support indefinitely. The support may have been established when the child was a minor, but if the parents divorced after the child turned 18, support may be requested for the disabled adult child through the divorce proceeding.

Establishing Child Support

Courts establish child support for disabled children following the same basic guidelines as for minor children, but with additional considerations. The support amount may be adjusted based on additional and necessary educational, medical or similar expenses. The court may also consider whether a parent needs to hire someone to supervise the child on a daily basis or if the parent will take on this responsibility himself. Additionally, the court will typically consider the financial resources of both parents, as well as any other financial resources or programs that may be available to help the child.

Divorce is never easy, but we can help. Learn More

Child Seeking Child Support

Child support is typically requested by a parent during divorce proceedings. However, in some cases, the disabled child can be the one to file for financial support if his parents are not providing for him. Depending on the laws of the state, a person over 18 may request support directly from his parents if his disability is not mental; the court determines if he can handle his financial affairs independently.

Other Benefits

Often, an adult with a disability may qualify for government benefits, such as Social Security. In most states, the amount the child receives in benefits will not have an impact on the amount of child support the courts can order the parents to pay. However, if the child receives parental support, this may impact the amount he is entitled to receive in benefits. As a result, parents may consider setting up a special needs trust, which can disperse money to a disabled child without necessarily impacting his income. To set up this type of trust, you should consult with an attorney.

Divorce is never easy, but we can help. Learn More
A Divorce With a Handicapped Child


Related articles

Laws About Child Support and Visitation in the State of Minnesota

In Minnesota, the court presumes that it is in the best interest of the child to spend time with both of her parents and receive the same amount of financial support she received before her parents divorced. So long as your child spends at least 10 percent of her time with you, courts in Minnesota may lower your child support obligation.

Maryland Emancipation & Child Support Rules

Noncustodial parents have a legal obligation to support their minor children and generally must pay child support to the custodial parent to cover a portion of the child's expenses. The noncustodial parent must continue paying child support until the child reaches the age of majority or is legally emancipated, even if the custodial parent remarries or her income increases. Child support is a right of the child and cannot be waived by the custodial parent.

The Rights & Responsibilities of a Temporary Guardian in Arkansas

A temporary guardian is a person appointed by the court to play the legal role of a child's parent, when parents are unable to do so. A court may appoint a temporary guardian when a parent is incarcerated, temporarily too ill to care for the child or after a parent dies. In Arkansas, guardians have many of the same rights and responsibilities of parents. The guardian must relinquish the child to the parent at the end of the term of guardianship if the order of guardianship orders her to do so.

Get Divorced Online

Related articles

Illinois Laws on Child Support of Disabled Children

In Illinois, as in all states, parents are responsible for financially supporting their children. This is true even ...

Can Child Support Be Waived in Florida?

Child support is the money paid by each parent to contribute to a child's normal expenditures. When parents share ...

Texas Child Support Questions

Child support is the financial assistance paid by one parent to the parent with primary custody of the children after ...

Divorce & College Expenses

When parents divorce, the parent who is responsible for the day-to-day care and physical custody of the children (the ...

Browse by category
Ready to Begin? GET STARTED