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Support for an Adult Child With a Disability

Posted on in Child Support

DuPage County family law attorneyAn order for child support, in most cases, will terminate when the child turns 18, or, if he or she is still attending high school, when the child turns 19. There are, however, situations in which a parent’s responsibility for support payments may continue even once the child has legally become an adult. One such scenario is that in which the child is mentally or physically disabled. Either or both parents may be required to contribute to the support of their disabled child for as long as the court deems necessary.

Legal Definitions

According to the Illinois Marriage and Dissolution of Marriage Act, a disabled person—at least for the purposes of continued parental support—is an individual with a “physical or mental impairment that substantially limits a major life activity.” In order to qualify for consideration for non-minor support, the disability must be documented or the person must be reasonably regarded having the disability.

The law also stipulates that the disability must have arisen while the child was eligible for “traditional” child support or for support related to eligible college expenses. This means that if your child was not diagnosed with a disability until age 30, for example, long after he or she moved out of your home, you cannot be required to provide support for him or her based on the disability.

Support Considerations

In deciding whether to order non-minor support and how much is appropriate, the court will look at a number of factors, including:

  • Each parent’s current and projected financial situation, including savings set aside for retirement;
  • The standard of living the child could have expected if his or her parents had not divorced or separated;
  • The child’s financial resources; and
  • The child’s eligibility for and participation in benefit programs such as Supplemental Security Income, Medicaid, and other federal, state, and local resources.

Any payments that are ordered may be paid one of the parents or to a trust created by the parents for the purpose of caring for the disabled child. The payments could also be ordered as payable to a special needs trust designed to provide for the child’s needs while protecting his or her eligibility for governmental benefits, which often have asset limitations.

We Can Help

If you would like to learn more about supporting a non-minor child with a disability, contact an experienced DuPage County family law attorney. Call 630-352-2240 for a free consultation at Pesce Law Group, P.C., today. We are ready to help you and your family find a solution to your most challenging child support issues.


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