Child Support Obligations for Adult Disabled Children

adult disabled child

Texas Child Support in General

Promoting and protecting the safety and welfare of children is an important governmental interest in Texas. The best interests of a minor child of separated parents is the central issue that courts are concerned with at child custody proceedings. Additionally, a noncustodial parent’s obligation to pay child support to the noncustodial parent derives from certain legal duties that arise from the parent-child relationship.

Ordinarily, a parent’s obligation to pay child support typically ends when the child reaches the age of 18 or graduates from high school, whichever happens later. This is because a child is deemed to have matured enough by that age to have developed independent judgment and the ability to financially support themselves. However, in some cases, a parent’s responsibility for financially supporting their child may extend beyond the age of 18. This is particularly true for adult disabled children.

Extending Child Support for Adult Disabled Children

Under Texas Family Code § 154.001, a disabled adult child can receive child support past his or her 18th birthday if the child has a physical or mental disability that prevents them from becoming financially self-supporting. According to Texas Family Code § 154.302, a child who requires significant attention and personal oversight due to their disability is considered to be incapable of supporting themselves, thus necessitating the need for extending their parents’ child support duties.

If an adult child receives child support, that will count as income to the child. That child support income can prevent the adult disabled-child from qualifying for state benefits such as Medicaid and federal benefits like Social Security. To prevent the adult disabled-child support from counting as income and making the child not qualify for those benefits, the child support can go into a trust to be used by a trustee for the adult disabled-child’s benefit. This type of trust is known as a special needs trust.

Under Texas Family Code § 154.302, a court may order one or both parents of a special needs child to make child support payments to a special needs trust established for the child’s benefit. The trustee has access to the trust funds to spend on behalf of the child. The trustee of a special needs trust can be a parent, but it does not have to be.

A trust helps ensure that a child has a source of financial support, as long as one or both parents pay into the trust.

The Texas legislature reaffirmed the government’s concern and interest in ensuring the wellbeing of both children and adults with disabilities when it passed TFC § 154.302 granting courts the power to designate a special needs trust for the support of a disabled child.

Contact Us at Camille Borg Law PLLC

If you are involved in a legal dispute involving the custody or support of a minor disabled child, you should consult one of our attorneys who can help negotiate an order for child support to continue after the disabled child would otherwise not have had child support anymore. You will need help setting up a special needs trust to safeguard the child’s abilities to get government assistance. The attorneys at Camille Borg Law PLLC are dedicated to finding effective and reasonable resolutions to family law dispute and dedicated to protecting and preserving the safety and welfare of special needs children.

Get started by calling (469) 646-7763 to arrange an appointment about your case with Camille Borg Law PLLC.