Child Support for Special-Needs Children
Generally, parents have an obligation to support their children financially until they reach the age of eighteen, graduate from high school (if after their eighteenth birthday), or are otherwise emancipated under the Texas Family Code. In some instances, though, a parent’s obligations to a child may extend past the time the child reaches adulthood. For example, if a child suffers from a serious physical or mental disability, a parent may be obligated to support the child well past the age of eighteen (and sometimes for the life of the child). Child-support disputes involving children with disabilities can be legally complicated and emotionally charged, however. If you have a child with special needs and wish to request or have been asked to pay support, it is important to understand your rights, and you should consult an attorney immediately. The dedicated Dallas child-support lawyers of McClure Law Group are heedful of the importance of obtaining child support for special-needs children, and, if we represent you, we will work tirelessly to help you pursue your desired outcome.Child Support for Special-Needs Children Under the Age of Eighteen
The courts’ directive in any matter involving minor children (i.e., those under the age of 18 years) is what is in the “best interest” of the children. While the child-support guidelines outlined in the Texas Family Code are presumed to be in a child’s best interest, in some instances, a deviation from the guidelines is warranted. The court will look at numerous factors to determine whether the guidelines are inappropriate, including the age and needs of the child, the ability of the parents to financially support the child, and whether the child has any extraordinary or special health-care or educational expenses.
In matters in which a child has special needs, all of the factors mentioned above may come into play. For example, the cost of caring for the child may exceed the amount of support presumed to be appropriate under the guidelines, and the parent that is the primary caretaker for the child may be unable to work to earn an income to contribute financially to the cost of rearing that child. Further, many children with special needs may require treatment or assistance that is not covered by insurance. Thus, it may be appropriate for the court to order a parent of a special-needs child to pay support in an amount greater than what is otherwise dictated by the guidelines.Child Support for Special-Needs Children Over the Age of Eighteen
Child-support obligations typically end when a child reaches the age of eighteen, graduates from high school (if later), or is emancipated, but support obligations may be extended past this date if a child has a physical or mental disability. Additionally, actions for support for an adult disabled child can be filed after the child reaches the age of eighteen. A court can order one or both parents to provide financial support for an adult disabled child if it finds that the child requires personal supervision and substantial care due to a physical or mental disability that prevents them from supporting themselves.
The court must also find that the disability or the cause of the disability existed on or before the child turned eighteen. In other words, while a support action may be instituted after a disabled child reaches the age of majority, the disability giving rise to the support action must be present prior to that time. Parents who have guardianship or physical custody of adult disabled children have standing to seek support. Children who suffer from physical, rather than mental, disabilities can seek support for themselves if they can establish that they are able to handle their own financial affairs.Meet with a Skilled Dallas Lawyer
Parents frequently worry whether they possess the resources they require to care for their children properly, and those fears are often amplified when a child has special needs. If you have concerns regarding child support for special-needs children, it is smart to meet with an attorney to evaluate your options. The skilled Dallas lawyers of McClure Law Group understand that it is critical that special-needs children receive the support they need throughout their lives, and if you engage our services, we will fight to help you seek an equitable outcome that is in the best interest of your child. Our primary office is in Dallas, and we are available for consultations at our Collin-County office in Plano. We regularly represent parties in child-support matters in Dallas, Frisco, Fort Worth, Irving, McKinney, Richardson, Rockwall, and Garland. We help parties with family-law disputes in cities in Dallas, Rockwall, Collin, Denton, Tarrant, and Grayson Counties. You can reach us via our online form or by calling 214.692.8200 to set up a conference.