Can I Get Child Support For A Disabled Child After They Turn 18?

MLF Team

Can I Get Child Support For A Disabled Child After They Turn 18?


In Georgia, child support usually ends when a child turns 18 years old. However, there are some situations in which support may continue beyond the age of majority. If you have questions about your options in these cases or want to know whether child support for a disabled child can be extended, consider discussing your case with a skilled Georgia family law attorney at The Millard Law Firm by calling (678) 319-9500.


General Information About Child Support in Georgia


According to the Georgia Courts, child support is primarily for the support of minor children. This means that once a child reaches the age of 18 and has graduated from high school, child support will no longer need to be paid. The courts generally assume that the child should generally be able to support themselves independently at this point. However, if the child is over the age of 18 but continues to attend high school classes, child support payments can last up until the age of 20 years old, as long as the child is enrolled full-time in classes.


Some of the other situations that can end child payments include the following:


  • When the child gets married
  • When the child passes away
  • When the child becomes emancipated
  • When the child enlists in the military
  • When the custodial parent passes away
  • When the obligated parent passes away
  • When the obligated parent gets custody of the child


What Does Child Support Cover in Georgia?


In Georgia, child support covers certain necessities for the minor child. These necessities include clothing, shelter, and food. Child support is not usually meant to cover uninsured medical bills, childcare, extraordinary educational fees, and extracurricular activities. Rather, these things will be handled separately by the parents.


The parent who is receiving the child support should not typically ask the other parent to handle incidental day-to-day expenses for the child’s care, such as basic food or clothing. Rather, these costs are precisely what child support payments are intended to cover.


How Do You Determine Child Support in Georgia?


To determine child support in Georgia, the court will look into the parents’ income. This can include each parent’s salary, overtime, commissions, pension, severance pay, workers’ compensation benefits, and other types of income. From there, the court will use a specific calculator to calculate child support.


However, this amount is just a guideline for the court, and the judge can either decrease or increase the child support amount according to the circumstances of the case and what is in the best interest of the child. Some of the factors the court may take into account include the following:


  • Parenting time
  • Extraordinary expenses
  • Mortgage
  • Alimony
  • Travel costs
  • Life insurance
  • Health insurance
  • The income of the parents


Child Support for Special Needs Children Over the Age of 18


Child support for children with special needs may still be required after they turn 18 years old. However, the court will need to first consider certain factors before ordering an extension of such support. These factors include the following:


  • The extent of the child’s disability
  • The effects of the disability on the child’s ability to support themselves
  • How much money it will cost to take care of the child’s medical treatment, care, and housing


The court may also order the creation of a special needs trust. According to the State Bar of Georgia, a special needs trust (SNT) is a trust that holds the assets for a certain individual for their benefit. The court can order each parent to contribute a certain amount of money towards the trust to care for their special needs child.


What Qualifies as Special Needs?


To qualify as special needs, a child must be determined to be either mentally disabled or physically disabled. Only then can the court order a parent to provide additional financial support to the child after they reach 18 years old. The child’s disability may also have to be one that prevents the child from living by themselves or earning a meaningful living. This means that if a child can support themselves but is unwilling to do so, child support will likely not be granted. To learn more about child support for a disabled child or how to obtain these payments, consider scheduling a consultation to review your situation with The Millard Law Firm and identify the best options for your family’s particular circumstances.


Getting Long-Term Care for Your Special Needs Child


In many instances, child support for a special needs child may involve additional costs for things such as special equipment and services beyond what child support typically covers. In addition, as the child grows, further issues may arise that parents will have to figure out, including who will be responsible for making decisions on behalf of the child, what type of ongoing care will the child need, and what benefits will the child be eligible for from the government.


As a result, if parents are planning for the future of their special needs child, they need to not only consider child support past the age of 18, but they will also need to make arrangements for the child’s long-term future care. This may mean setting up special trusts and looking into long-term care insurance. By outlining the child’s foreseeable needs and each parent’s share of these obligations, the parents can ensure that they are able to contribute to the child’s quality of life. For further details about this long-term care, consider reviewing your options with a skilled Georgia family law attorney who can provide you with ideas about custody and support arrangements to address your child’s unique needs.


Contact an Experienced Georgia Family Law Attorney To Get the Answers You Need


Dealing with custody issues and child support payments can be challenging, but determining child support for a child with a disability can be an even more overwhelming process that no one wants to tackle alone. If you want further information regarding child support for a disabled child or want to create a plan for your child’s future, contact The Millard Law Firm today by calling us at (678) 319-9500. Our legal team can review your questions, provide you with the answers you need, and help you review your legal options.