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Helping ensure continued support for disabled children of divorce

On Behalf of | Feb 20, 2024 | Child Custody |

When parents divorce and one parent is required to pay child support, this support typically ends when the child turns 18. Some parents will agree to support their child through college, of course. However, it’s not required under the law.

Other children have physical or mental disabilities that make it impossible for them to live on their own or support themselves as adults. Responsible parents will typically continue to support their child and provide them with the care they require for as long as necessary. If they divorce when the child’s already an adult, their care is generally factored into the divorce agreement.

Proposed legislation being considered by Ohio lawmakers

Because it’s not mandated by law, however, some disabled adults fall through the cracks. That’s why some Ohio state lawmakers have introduced a bill that would allow a court to “issue, pursuant to a proceeding for divorce, dissolution, legal separation, or annulment, an order of support for the care and maintenance of the parties’ child who is a person with a disability, regardless of whether the child has reached the age of majority.” That means if parents of an adult disabled child divorce, a judge can mandate support for that child, regardless of age.

The bill would “allow child support orders to be issued, modified, or extended for children over 18 with a disability.” An official with the Ohio State Bar Association says that, if it becomes law, this legislation would help bring consistency and added protection for disabled adults throughout the state who sometimes become the victims of parental divorce if one parent doesn’t want to provide the level of support they’re able to.

Most parents don’t need a law to continue to support a disabled child, regardless of their age, after a divorce. However, it can be a big help to a less-earning parent who needs their co-parent to continue to provide financial help to care for their child.

It could be some time before the bill passes (if it does) and becomes law. In the meantime, it’s crucial to ensure that your disabled child continues to get the treatment, care and support they need even if their parents are no longer together. Having sound legal guidance can help you protect your child.