I am paying child support for my 21-year-old son who was diagnosed as mentally handicapped, though he is capable of working and functioning independently.
After visiting several psychiatrists who deemed our son just had a behavior disorder, my ex-wife found one who agreed with her that he was mentally handicapped so my child support would continue.
Will I continue having to pay child support indefinitely so long as my child is living with my ex-wife and is diagnosed as mentally handicapped?
I am unable to give you legal advice on divorce. I can give general divorce help for men, though, my knowledge is based on Pennsylvania divorce laws where I am licensed to practice.
A parent has a duty to support their child until the child is considered emancipated. Where I practice, emancipation typically occurs when the child reaches the age of 18 or graduates high school.
However, there are special circumstances in which child support will continue for an indefinite period of time, such as a disability that prevents the child from being able to financially support himself without contribution from the parents.
In a situation such as yours, the courts in my state will take into account what the specific disability is and if that disability does, in fact, prevent the child from being able to care for himself and reasonably financially provide for themselves.
Typically, when a person is considered permanently disabled and unable to financially support themselves, they are awarded SSI or SSDI to provide a monthly income so they can pay for living expenses.
If SSI or SSDI is awarded, the court will typically take this monthly payment into account when coming up with a support order. If a person’s disability payment is equal to or higher than what a parent would be obligated to pay, the courts will not make the parents responsible for providing child support.
Also, if a child is receiving any type of disability payment, the court will reduce what a parent is obligated to pay proportionally to the disability payments.
I believe it would benefit you to see if the child ever applied for any type of disability payment from the government (either SSD or SSDI) and what the outcome, if any, was.
Where I practice, the courts will take into consideration if someone is claiming a disability and whether any form of SSD or SSDI has been awarded or denied. This information can be persuasive to the courts.
Remember, I am unable to provide you with anything more than divorce tips for men, so please consult with divorce lawyers for men in your jurisdiction.