Often, courts continue child support for a special needs child past the age of majority. In Tennessee, all parents must legally support each child until a child is 18. However, if a child turns 18 and is still completing high school, support often must continue. In some cases , however, a parent may need to continue paying child support for their child or children past the age of 18. For example, a special needs child may need a certain amount of additional care past 18.
In Tennessee, a disabled child may received child support up through age 21. When one parent cares for a severely disabled child, child support may be required to continue well into adulthood. The courts take into consideration not only physical disabilities, but mental ones as well. Oftentimes, courts determine disabilities in economic terms. For example, courts may order support for a child who cannot adequately support his or herself through working.
Some severely disabled children may require different care after the age of 18. Instead of attending school, the child may enter an adult care program or a program teaching those with special needs job skills. As with all support, child support will vary depending on the parent’s ability to financially support the child.
Most importantly, note child support payments do not terminate support payments without a court approval. If your child reaches the age of majority, has completed high school and is not disabled, you may want to head back to court. You may have to submit a termination order with the family court. If you don’t and stop paying child support without approval, a judge may rule against you later and you would be responsible for back payments.
To set up child support for your disabled child, you need to talk with an experienced family attorney. At The Law Office of James Marshall, we can sit down with you and review your situation.