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Child Support Expanded to Provide for Special Needs Adults

Parents of sons and daughters with special needs often must provide a home and daily care long after their children turn 21 and the standard child support obligation expires. It stands to reason that a mother or father who is still responsible for a disabled young adult should receive support payments from their co-parent. Following the lead of numerous other states, New York has now enacted a law that enables parents of sons and daughters with developmental disabilities to petition for child support payments until the young adult is 26 years old.

Governor Kathy Hochul signed the measure into law after it was passed with bipartisan support in the New York State Legislature. The new rule authorizes child support for parents who live with their developmentally disabled son or daughter and who are principally responsible for their needs. However, mothers and fathers are not eligible if their child’s medical condition arose after they turned 22 years old. For example, if a 23-year-old suffers injuries in a car crash that limits their ability to function, the parent who takes care of the victim cannot collect child support from their co-parent.

This new law obviously can make an enormous difference for parents who require financial assistance not only to meet the everyday needs of a disabled child who cannot work, but also the specific expenses that might be required in light of their son or daughter’s condition. Assemblymember Mary Beth Walsh, one of the bill’s sponsors, also noted that many disabled young people live in single-parent homes because the additional responsibilities associated with raising a special needs child can strain a marriage.

If you believe that you might be entitled to child support because of the new law, you should consult with a knowledgeable New York family lawyer promptly to learn about your legal options. There might be a question as to whether your child qualifies as disabled under the state’s Mental Hygiene Law. At Jakubowski, Robertson, Maffei, Goldsmith & Tartaglia, LLP, we are dedicated to helping parents throughout Nassau and Suffolk counties exercise their legal rights to do what is best for their children.