Child Support and Your Child’s Mental Health Condition
A parent of a child with a mental health condition has the dual responsibilities of caring for their child’s daily needs and making sure they get the specialized care they require. When parents in this situation divorce or are no longer together, future support will be an important issue.
Child Support in Florida
Florida law generally requires that both parents support their children until they turn 18 or until they graduate from high school or turn 19. However, when a child has a mental disability which inhibits his or her ability to support themselves during adulthood, the support can last longer. The child’s condition will determine how long the support will last. For instance, if the child has a severe mental illness which keeps them from working or living independently, support may be indefinite. Likewise, the amount of support will depend on the child’s needs.
Child Support during Divorce
While standard child support is supposed to cover routine medical expenses, it is not designed to cover specialized treatment. If your child has ongoing therapy, expensive medications, or needs recurrent hospitalizations, the out-of-pocket costs can be significant. You will want to make certain to accurately represent the expenses associated with your child’s current and anticipated care so that the calculated child support amount will be adequate for any extraordinary needs.
Agreement between the Parties
As with most divorce terms, the parties can agree to the amount and length child support provided the court views the agreement as being in the best interest of the child. Divorcing parents should take the time to sit down and have an honest discussion about their child’s future requirements. In many cases, parents are equally concerned about their child’s future and will be able to decide on a child support terms which will support their well-being and long-term care needs.
Supplements and Alternatives
If an adult has a qualifying disability, he or she may be able to receive social security benefits and Medicaid. Parents can also create special needs trust to special savings account for their child’s future care. If parents do not want to extend child support, they could agree to pay towards one or both of these types of resources.
Knowing how to prepare for the future when your child has a mental health condition can be overwhelming. By consulting with a knowledgeable family law attorney about your child’s present and potential support, you can examine your situation and learn more about your options. We have experience helping parents plan for their children’s mental health support needs and can help. Contact us online or by calling 866-767-4711 to set up your initial consultation in our office.