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Will you have to support your disabled child into adulthood?

Some Massachusetts parents don't have to worry about paying child support beyond the age of 18 for their children. However, others must abide by the statute that gives the court latitude to compel parent(s) to continue paying child support longer for a child when that child is enrolled in school or otherwise dependent upon a parent.

Such is often the case when a parent has a physically or mentally disabled adult daughter or son. A court can order that child support payments be extended or continued indefinitely in some cases if the parent has the means to do pay.

Because the "age of majority" does not convey the same legal rights and responsibilities on some children with disabilities, if their parents divorce, they still must be cared for into adulthood. The non-custodial parent may still be under court order to provide support for that child.

Parents of disabled children in Massachusetts should take special care in devising support plans that will cover their disabled children's needs, both now and at a future date when both their children's needs and their own earning potential may have shifted dramatically.

A parent who feels that he or she should no longer have to support an adult disabled child once an order is in place would have to return to family court to get the order modified or nullified in order to be clear of their financial obligations. This is why it is important to fully understand any proposals from opposing counsel or ex-spouses.

A Massachusetts family law attorney can review the circumstances of a case and make a recommendation of the best way in which to proceed.

Source: National Conference of State Legislatures, "Termination of Child Suppot- Exception for Adult Children with Disabilities," accessed July 08, 2016

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