In October, New York finalized a law extending child support for adults who have developmental disabilities. Parents of disabled children can now petition the court to continue child support until age 26, rather than ending it at age 21 under the current law.
Review the provisions of this new law to learn more about how it may affect your family.
Reasons for the new law
New York joins at least 40 states that extend support for individuals who have disabilities past age 21. Many people affected by these conditions cannot become self-supporting, so the additional years of child support help cover financial and medical needs for the custodial parent.
Parents can file a petition for extended support if they care for and live with a dependent child who has developmental, cognitive or physical disabilities. The disability must arise before age 22, have a chronic or indeterminate prognosis, and prevent the person from living, working and otherwise functioning independently.
Upon finding that the child has a qualifying disability, the court will also consider the New York formula for calculating child support. This formula accounts for the incomes of both parents as well as the child’s special educational and medical needs. The judge will also consider whether one parent bears an unreasonable financial burden compared to the other parent.
If the court orders the noncustodial parent to continue child support until age 26, he or she can make payments directly to the custodial parent. Alternatively, the law allows the parent to pay support to establish a trust to fund the child’s needs.