Child Support And Special Needs Children
If you are the parent of a child with special needs, it’s natural to be worried about how the courts will determine child support if you get divorced. Special needs children often require a level of care and consideration above that of children without special needs. Caring for a special needs child is also more expensive and time-consuming for parents in most cases.
Determining Child Support
The primary goal of child support is to ensure that a parent has enough money to provide their child with a happy, healthy life. But because every child is different, the needs of each vary depending on the situation and the child.
A child’s well-being will always be the first priority in the eyes of the court, so if your child has a set of special needs, the court will consider how those needs may affect the child’s care and living expenses. The court will consider items like:
- Medical bills
- Special education
- Home modifications
- Professional help
Once everything has been taken into account, the court will decide how much child support is required for your special needs child. The final child support order will reflect those needs.
Special Needs Children Over Eighteen Years Old
While child support in California typically ends once a child reaches eighteen years of age, certain exceptions may be made for special needs children.
If your child has a serious disability, you or your ex-spouse may be required to continue paying child support after they turn eighteen. Children with special needs that are unable to support themselves once they become adults will likely require their parents to continue supporting them until they can support themselves. If that isn’t possible, parents will be required to support their special needs child for the remainder of their lives.
Modifying Child Support
If your special needs child needs more support as time goes on, you can file for child support modification to increase your ex’s financial contributions to help meet those new needs. On the other hand, if your child’s needs for specialized support decrease, your ex-spouse can file to have their child support obligation reduced.
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