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Termination of Child Support Exception for Adult

Termination of Child Support- Exception for Adult Children with Disabilities

Girls on SwingThe "age of majority" is the legal age established under state law at which an individual is no longer a minor and, as a young adult, has the right and responsibility to make certain legal choices that adults make. Thus, when people use the term age of majority, they are generally referring to when a young person reaches the age where one is considered to be an adult. In some states, child support stops when a child is 18 or graduates from high school, in others, it stops at 21 (For more information, visit Termination of Support- Age of Majority). The majority of states use 18 as the age of majority (in cases where the youth is still in high school the age of majority may extend beyond 18). States may order support  while a child is in college (For more information, visit Termination of Support- College Support Beyond the Age of Majority).

An exception to the rule that parents' duty to support their children ends at the children's majority occurs when the child is disabled. In cases where the child is disabled, mentally or physically, and therefore unable to support himself/herself upon reaching the age of majority most states have adopted the rule that parents have a duty to support their adult disabled children. Most often, courts define "disability" in economic terms, i.e., the inability of the adult disabled child to adequately care for himself/herself by earning a living by reason of mental or physical infirmity. States differ as to whether support for an adult disabled child is determined by the state's child support guidelines or by the needs of the child as balanced by the parents' ability to provide support.

 

State

General Information

Citation

Alabama

Alabama law allows post-minority support to be paid in the case of handicapped children. The Title IV-D Agency does not assist in collecting post-minority support.

No citation available.

Alaska

Limited provisions for disabled children and other allowances as stated in the court order.

No citation available.

Arizona

The court may order support past age of majority for a mentally or physically disabled child.

Ariz. Rev. Stat. Ann. §25-320(E)

Arkansas

“The court may also provide for the continuation of support [past 18] for an individual with a disability which affects the ability of the individual to live independently from the custodial parent.”

Ark. Code Ann. §9-12-312(a)(6)(B)

California

Statute extends the parents' duty to support an incapacitated child when the child, regardless of age, is incapacitated from earning a living and is without sufficient means. In these situations, the court is allowed to order support beyond the child's majority.

Cal. Fam. Code §3910

Colorado

Support will continue after the last or only child attains age 19 if the child is physically or mentally disabled.

Colo. Rev. Stat. §14-10-115(13)(a)(2)

Connecticut

“The court may make appropriate orders of support of any child with intellectual disability, as defined in section 1-1g, or a mental disability or physical disability, as defined in subdivision (15) of section 46a-51, who resides with a parent and is principally dependent upon such parent for maintenance until such child attains the age of twenty-one."

Conn. Gen. Stat. §46b-84(c)

Delaware

N/A

No citation available.

District of Columbia

Support can be paid beyond the age of majority if the child is mentally or physically disabled.

Nelson v Nelson, 548 A.2d 109, 111 (D.C. 1988)

Florida

“This section shall not prohibit any court of competent jurisdiction from requiring support for a dependent person beyond the age of 18 years when such dependency is because of a mental or physical incapacity which began prior to such person reaching majority…”

Fla. Stat. §743.07(2)

Georgia

“It is the joint and several duty of each parent to provide for the maintenance, protection, and education of his or her child until the child reaches the age of majority, … except to the extent that the duty of the parents is otherwise or further defined by court order.” Other examples in private orders might include extraordinary medical needs, handicapped, etc.

Ga. Code §19-7-2

Guam

“Payments for disabled children and for education. If a child residing on Guam is disabled before the age of eighteen (18), the court may, at any time before the child reaches the age of twenty-one (21) years, find that both parents (or the surviving parent if one is deceased) have a mutual obligation to support the child beyond the age of majority, and based upon such findings, order either or both of the parents to pay continuing child support for the benefit of such child directly to the child or his guardian, as is appropriate. Such support may be modified in the same manner as child support may be terminated if no longer needed, shall continue for as long as the child is disabled and requires support, and shall be treated as child support for purposes of this Title…”

19 Guam Code §4105.1

Hawaii

“…Provision may be made … for the support, maintenance, and education of an incompetent adult child whether or not the petition is made before or after the child has attained the age of majority.”

Haw. Rev. Stat. §580-47(a)

Idaho

The court must take into account the physical and emotional condition and the needs of the child.

Idaho Code §32-706

Illinois

“When the child is mentally or physically disabled and not otherwise emancipated, an application for support may be made before or after the child has attained majority.”

Ill. Rev. Stat. ch. 750, §5/513(a)(1)

Indiana

21, unless child has been determined to be legally incapacitated

Ind. Code §31-16-6-6(a)(2)

Iowa

“The parents are severally liable for the support of a dependent child eighteen years of age or older, whenever such child is unable to maintain the child's self and is likely to become a public charge.”

Iowa Code §252A.3(3)

Kansas

Any other reason by agreement of the parties only.

Kan. Stat. Ann. §23-3001

Kentucky

If the child has a permanent physical or mental disability, the mother and father shall have joint custody and care of children who have reached age 18

Ky. Rev. Stat. §405.020(2)

Louisiana

Extends to a developmentally disabled child up to age 22

La. Civ. Code Ann. Art. 230

Maine

N/A

No citation available.

Maryland

The court may order support for a disabled adult child.

Md. Code Ann., Fam. Law §§ 13-101(b)(2), 13-102(b)

Massachusetts

A court may order support for an adult child who is mentally or physically disabled. 

See Fienberg v. Diamant, 378 Mass. 131, 389 N.E.2d 998 (1979).

Michigan

Beyond 19 1/2 by agreement of the parties.

Mich. Comp. Laws §722.52; Mich. Comp. Laws §552.605b

Minnesota

“’Child’ means an individual under 18 years of age, an individual under age 20 who is still attending secondary school, or an individual who, by reason of physical or mental condition, is incapable of self-support.”

Minn. Stat. §518.54(2)

Mississippi

If the parties agree, support may continue beyond the age of majority and some courts may order this if the child is handicapped.

Miss. Code Ann. §93-11-65(8)(a)

Missouri

The court may also extend the child support obligation past the age of 18 if the child is physically or mentally incapacitated from supporting himself/herself and insolvent and unmarried.

Mo. Rev. Stat. §452.340

Montana

Not past 19 unless agreed to by parties. Child is defined as a person who is mentally or physically incapacitated if the incapacity began prior to the person's 18th birthday.

Mont. Code Ann. §40-4-208(5); Mont. Code Ann. §40-5-201(2)

Nebraska

Only if parties agreed and it's included in the support order.

Neb. Rev. Stat. §43-2101; §42-371.01

Nevada

Support may extend past the age of majority, for a handicapped child, until the end of the handicap or until the child becomes self-supporting.

Nev. Rev. Stat. §129.010; Nev. Rev. Stat. §125B.110

New Hampshire

The court may initiate or continue child support beyond the age of 18 for children with disabilities, provided that the order does not continue support after the child reaches age 21.

N.H. Rev. Stat. Ann. §461-A:14(IV)

New Jersey

If the child is handicapped or any other reason as determined by the court.

No citation available.

New Mexico

If severely disabled - by case law; By Statute: “The court may order and enforce the payment of support for the maintenance and education after high school of emancipated children of the marriage pursuant to a written agreement between the parties.”

N.M. Stat. §40-4-7(C)

New York

Under very limited circumstances if the child is handicapped or stipulated in a divorce decree. Until 21 for a mental disability.

Family Court §415; Family Court §413(1)a

North Carolina

“For the purposes of custody, the rights of a person who is mentally or physically incapable of self-support upon reaching his majority shall be the same as a minor child for so long as he remains mentally or physically incapable of self-support.”

N.C. Gen. Stat. §50-13.8

North Dakota

“This section does not preclude the entry of an order for child support which continues after the child reaches age eighteen, if the parties agree, or if the court determines the support to be appropriate.”

N.D. Cent. Code §14-09-08.2(6)

Ohio

Support may continue past 18 if the child is mentally or physically disabled and is incapable of supporting or maintaining himself or herself.

Ohio Rev. Code Ann. §3109.01; Ohio Rev. Code Ann. §3119.86

Oklahoma

Court may order support past majority, for an indefinite period of time if the child requires substantial care and personal supervision because of a mental or physical disabililty and is incapable of self-support.

Okla. St. Ann. tit. 43, §112.1A

Oregon

Parents have a duty to support their children who unable to work to support themselves.

Or. Rev. Stat. § 109.010

Pennsylvania

Support beyond age of majority may be ordered for a child who has a physical or mental condition which exists as of time the child reaches majority and prevents the child from being self-supported or emancipated.

Pa. Cons. Stat. tit. 23, §4321(3)

Rhode Island

Court may order support past majority, if the child has a severe physical or mental impairment and is stillliving with or under the care of a parent. R.I. Gen. Laws §15-5-16.2(b)

South Carolina

Family Court may order support past majority if physical or mental disability, for as long as the disability lasts. S.C. Code Ann. §63-3-530(17)
South Dakota If child is still being supported by one parent, there cannot be compensation by other parent unless there is an agreement. The necessary health and special needs of the child will be considered in whether to deviate from the guidelines. S.D. Codified Laws Ann. 25-7-9; S.D. Codified Laws Ann. 25-7-6.1(3)
Tennessee May continue to 21 years of age if handicapped or disabled, unless severly disabled and living under the care of a parent and it is in the best interest of the child for support to continue. Tenn. Code Ann. § 36-5-101
Texas For an indefinite period if the child is disabled. Tex. Family Code Ann. §154.001
Utah Defines "child," for purposes of child support, as a son or daughter who is incapacitated from earning a living, and, if able to provide financial resources to the family, is not able to support self by own means. Utah Code Ann. §78B-12-102
Vermont N/A No citation available.
Virginia May continue for a child over the age of 18 who is (a) severely and permanently mentally or physically disabled, (b) unable to live independently and support himself, and (c) residing in the home of the parent seeking or receiving child support Va. Code § 20-60.3(5)
Washington N/A No citation available.
West Virginia May continue past 18 if child is handicapped or disabled. W. Va. Code §48-11-103
Wisconsin No response available. No citation available.
Wyoming A parent's legal obligation for support of children continues past the age of majority when the child is mentally or physically disabled and incapable of self support.  Wyo. Stat. §14-2-204(a)(i)

Source: Office of Child Support Enforcement Intergovernmental Referral Guide, 2012, Morgan, Laura W., “The Duty to Support Adult Disabled Children,” from supportguidelines.com, 2000; and NCSL research.

*PLEASE NOTE: The National Conference of State Legislatures is an organization serving state legislators and their staff. We cannot offer legal advice or assistance with individual cases, but we do try to answer questions on general topics.

About This NCSL Project

NCSL staff in D.C. and Denver can provide comprehensive, thorough, and timely information on critical child support policy issues. We provide services to legislators and staff working to improve state policies affecting children and their families. NCSL's online clearinghouse for state legislators includes resources on child support police, financing, laws, research and promicing practices. Technical assistance visits to states are available to any state legisalture that would like training or assistance related to this topic.  

The Denver-based child support project staff focuses on state policy, tracking legislation and providing research and policy analysis, consultation, and technical assistance specifically geared to the legislative audience. Denver staff can be reached at (303) 364-7700 or cyf-info@ncsl.org.

NCSL staff in Washington, D.C. track and analyze federal legislation and policy and represent state legislatures on child support issues before Congress and the Administration. In D.C., Joy Johnson Wilson at 202-624-8689 or by e-mail at joy.wilson@ncsl.org and Rachel Morgan at (202) 624-3569 or by e-mail at rachel.morgan@ncsl.org.

The child support project and D.C. human services staff receive guidance and support from NCSL's Standing Committee on Health & Human Services.

For more information regarding NCSL's child support work, please visit our Child Support Homepage.

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