Q: I get child support for my disabled son. He is 17 and almost done with high school. Because of his disability, he will not be able to go to college or hold a job. I plan to continue to care for him, but I’m worried about making ends meet without child support. When will his child support end?
Unless there is an agreement by the parents, the legal obligation to provide child support in California ends when the child marries, dies, is emancipated, reaches age 19, or reaches age 18 and is not a full-time high school student. But, this is not the case when a child’s disability prevents him from earning a living as an adult. California statute 3910 requires both parents to provide support to an incapacitated child of any age. If your child support is ending, and your child is incapacitated due to a disability, you may request a revision of the child support order.
The obligation to provide child support to a disabled child does not magically disappear when the child reaches adulthood. However, not all disabled adults require support. Many adults with disabilities are able to earn a living through a regular job or participate in sheltered employment. If you request a modification of your child support order, the court may require a formal evaluation of employability by a vocational expert. If the vocational expert finds that your son is incapacitated, both you and your ex-spouse will be held to the same child support guidelines as if your child were a minor. These guidelines apply even if your child is receiving Social Security benefits.
Do you have questions about revising an existing California child support order for a disabled child? Our San Francisco divorce attorneys can help you modify an existing agreement to help you meet your child’s future needs. To schedule an appointment, contact The Law Offices of Paul H. Nathan at 415-341-1144.