Child Support Extended For Special Needs Children

New York has now passed a new law that allows a parent of a Special Needs child to petition the Court to extend child support until the child turns 26 years old.  Prior to this new law, child support was only available to all children, regardless of whether they had special needs, up to the age of 21 years of age.

However, the extension of child support after 21 years of age is not automatic.  In order to received child support, up to 26 years of age, you must petition the Court to extend child support until the child turns 26.

Furthermore, to qualify, you must meet the following criteria:

  • The petition must be filed by the custodial parent or caregiver of a developmentally disabled child
  • The disabled child must be principally dependent on the parent and must reside with the parent
  • The child must be diagnosed by a doctor or medical professional that states the child has a developmental disability

The law defines developmental disability as:

  1. The disability must have originated before the child became 22 years old;
  2. The disability is continuing or can be expected to continue indefinitely; and
  3. The disability is a substantial handicap to the child’s ability to function normally in society.

The Court’s determination on how much child support to award is different from how a Court determines child support for a child under the age of 21 years of age.  Here, the Court has more discretion in the amount of child support to award and it is based on these factors:

First, it must find that the child has a developmental disability. Second, the Court can use the same formula as the formula for children under 21 years of age. Or, Third, the Court can determine whether the financial responsibility of caring for the disabled child has been unreasonably placed on the caregiving parent.

Since the law is so new, at this time, there isn’t much guidance on how Courts will actually determine the amount of child support to award.  However, it is likely that most Courts will simply use the same formula as the formula for children under 21 years of age.

The law is also retroactive, in the sense that if you already have a child support order and you have a child who qualifies under the law, you can go back to Court to extend the support order until the child is 26 years of age.

Another difference with this law, as compared to child support awards for children under 21 years of age, is how payments are to be made.  The Court has two options: (i) payments can be made directly to the parent/caregiver; or (ii) payments can be made to an “exception trust”, this is a trust that is set up to care for the disabled child.

This new law recognizes that parents of special needs children have extraordinary expenses, expenses that exist after a child turns 21 years of age.

David Badanes, Esq. and the Badanes Law Office have represented many parents with special needs children.  This new law now allows child support to be extended until the child turns 26 years of age.

If you are seeking a divorce or want to extend your child support award, then call David Badanes and the Badanes Law Office at 631-239-1702, email at david@dbnylaw.com or visit our web site: https://www.dbnylaw.com/.

The Badanes Law Office main office is in Northport, Suffolk County and has a satellite office in Uniondale, Nassau County.

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