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Parenting is always challenging, but parenting a disabled child can entail substantially more caregiving requirements. Generally, both parents are responsible for a child’s financial needs until the child reaches the age of 18. However, when an adult child has a disability, the child may not be able to work or support themselves. In this case, parents often are financially responsible for their child well into adulthood. For divorced parents, this means that child support payments may not necessarily stop once the child turns 18. If the disability is an “impairment that substantially limits major life activity,” Illinois may legally require parents to support a mentally or physically disabled child throughout their lives.
Not all adults with a qualifying disability will be awarded child support after reaching 18. Illinois courts will consider several factors when determining whether a parent must pay child support for an adult child, including:
Although payments may be required to be sent from one parent to the other, especially if one parent is a caretaker for the child, adult child support payments may also be made to a trust that has been created for the child’s benefit. This kind of trust is known as a Special Needs Trust.
One person - typically a parent - will be established as the trustee of the Special Needs Trust, and the disabled person will be the beneficiary. The trustee will open a bank account for the trust, and the funds in the trust must only be used to benefit the disabled person. Because Social Security disability benefits can be stopped for disabled adults with over $2,000 in assets, any inheritance, gift, or other donation made to the trust will not interrupt the SS benefits since the assets are given to the trust, rather than to the disabled individual.
Legal matters regarding support for an adult disabled child can be complex and confusing. The experienced DuPage County child support attorneys with Law Office of Martoccio & Martoccio have extensive experience with unusual or complex child support cases and will work with you to obtain a favorable outcome. Call us today to schedule a confidential consultation at 630-920-8855.