Why a Court May Order Support for an Adult Child

Ordinarily, child support ends when a child becomes an adult because the court presumes that the adult child will take care of themselves. However, there are many situations in which an adult child is unable to take care of themselves, and thus the parent has to chip in. Here are some of those situations.

The Child Is Disabled

Some adults can't take care of themselves due to various disabilities. A paralyzed child, a child with a severe mental illness, or a child with a chronic medical condition, may require their parent's financial assistance well into adulthood. Most parents will agree that such children need support even after divorce, and the law concurs. For that reason, expect to support your adult child if they are disabled and cannot take care of themselves.

The Child Is Still in School

Many people agree that education is one of the key gifts that parents can give to their children. Giving your child education is a good way to secure the child's financial future. Most people become adults when they are still in school and are not financially independent. If you divorce while your child is in college, the court may order you to continue to support the child until they graduate. Such a determination is even more likely if the child wants to continue with school and has performed (academically) satisfactorily so far.

The Child Doesn't Have Money

Some relatively young children have money, some even more than their children, and do not need financial support from their parents. For example, the digital age has given birth to entrepreneurs who are still in school (some also drop out of school to manage their business) but earn more than their working parents. If you have such a child, the court is unlikely to order you to pay child support for them.

You Can Afford the Payments

Lastly, the court is also more likely to order child support for adult children if you can afford the payments. Say you are disabled and survive on welfare. In such a case, the government is unlikely to order you to pay child support for an adult child. The situation would be different if you were healthy and could afford the payments.

Therefore, don't automatically assume that you will only pay or receive child support until your child becomes an adult. Depending on your circumstances, child support may continue even into the early twenties. Consult law firms such as Scott & Scott, PC for further insight into your specific circumstances.