The trust must specifically state that it is for the sole benefit of the Make a point to fully understand these key questions as you talk to The Sullivan Law Firm, where we focus on Protecting Loved ones & Assets Now — Have a P.L.A.N. If you are a parent of a special needs child and are contemplating divorce, Managing the care of a child with special needs is often a full- time job and the effect on the custodial parent’s income should be considered when establishing spousal maintenance. ceases to attend school on a regular basis, fails to make satisfactory academic progress towards graduation, or reaches age 20, whichever comes first.” NC Gen. Stat. Warren, It is of paramount importance not to characterize assets in a third-party SNT as being for the support of the child. This is another situation where you'll likely need to provide a medical history and other documentation to support your argument that child support needs to extend into adulthood. Your email address will not be published. This is especially so if the individual is unlikely ever to be able to earn an income. There are two main categories of special-needs trusts: third-party trusts (which hold assets belonging to anyone other than the beneficiary), and first-party trusts (which hold assets belonging to the beneficiary, including child-support payments). She has also been a Certified Divorce Financial Analyst® since 2006. When determining if a special-needs child qualifies for government benefits, child-support payments are frequently attributed to the child. The Court of Appeals held that John was making satisfactory academic progress toward a non-traditional graduation, and it was equivalent to a traditional graduation. handle these sensitive cases. Thanks for contacting us. NC Gen. Stat. This is especially so if the individual is unlikely ever to be able to earn an income. In cases where an adult child with special needs received child support from one of their separated or divorced parents, the question of continued child support becomes an important issue. However, children with special needs often reach the age of 18 but still cannot handle their activities of daily living or financial matters without assistance from another person. Now, although there aren’t any specific child support laws for children who have special needs, support can be extended to a maximum age of 20 in certain circumstances. New Jersey Statutes § 2A:34-23a lists certain factors courts will consider when determining a parent’s child support obligation, including: Courts have the discretion to approve additional expenses for the children, such as the costs associated with caring and providing for the special needs of handicapped or disabled children. We create tailored strategies & solutions based on client needs. It is critical to address these issues during the divorce process. 07059 In the case of a special needs child, the courts may make an exception and order that support continue even after the child has reached adulthood. Cases involving children with special needs are not taught in law school and are rarely covered in family law seminars. The trust will shelter the income and allow the beneficiary to retain SSI benefits, and, in many cases, the support payments can be retained in the trust if not immediately used. A court can’t order a parent to pay for college expenses because the child is an adult but when parents agree to share college expenses in a contract, it will be upheld. If a parent pays directly for food or shelter for a child who receives SSI, the payments are considered In-kind Support and Maintenance (ISM).