Adult child support is a support order that extends past the child’s age of maturity, typically because that child’s required care is ongoing. A common example of this is when a couple has a child with a developmental delay or disability. Under certain circumstances, parents of an adult child with mental or physical incapacities are still required to provide support.
Under California law, “the father and the mother have an equal responsibility to maintain, to the extent of their ability, a child of whatever age, who is incapacitated from earning a living and without sufficient means.” What this means is the parents of either party have a financial responsibility to their child that extends into adulthood, to a reasonable extent, if that child has a disability that hinders their ability to be self supporting.
The term “incapacitated from earning a living” has been described by California courts to mean “an inability to be self-supporting because of a mental or physical disability or proof of inability to find work because of factors beyond the child’s control.” The term “without sufficient means” deals with the likelihood that a child will become a “public charge.” In order for an adult support order to be sought, an independent medical exam has to be completed, unless both parties have stipulated to the status of the child’s incapacitation.
An adult support order and a typical child support order are calculated in the same way unless there is a finding that there is a reason to deviate from that calculation. Courts have the discretion to take into account a variety of circumstances when making the calculation. There are potential circumstances that could effect the ordered amount such as adjustments for time-sharing between parties, if the adult child has or has the ability to earn independent income or if the adult child has independent assets.
Adult support orders can be difficult to understand. Contact our office for additional information regarding your particular circumstances.
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