For example, there is a special needs trust that can maximize what the disabled child receives while preserving as many benefits as possible. If the settlement agreement provides that a parent will pay directly for things other than food or shelter, the child’s SSI benefit is undiminished by the payments. Many parents have extenuating circumstances that may require a deviation from the usual calculations. It's important to understand that this is usually only granted for cases in which the child is truly unable to support himself, and the basis for these exceptions varies greatly by state. handle these sensitive cases. This is especially so if the individual is unlikely ever to be able to earn an income. In Kosikowski v. Kosikowski, 240 Ga. 381(1977), the Supreme Court expressly held that where a parent has assumed the responsibility of providing necessary care for a needy adult child, that circumstance is relevant to the issue of alimony. It is critically important that a payee not lose SSI: if a recipient’s SSI benefit is reduced to zero, that recipient will also lose Medicaid coverage. If a parent agrees in an enforceable contract to support a child past the age of majority, the court will enforce it. ... 58 Mt. New Jersey law provides specific guidelines for child support obligations concerning families with up to six children. The information on this website is for general information purposes only. Kim Martin is an attorney at Nadler Biernath. (Except where noted, the child does not live with the payor-parent the majority of the time.). The following is a summary of some potential hazards. You may also need to establish a special needs trust. At Shimalla, Kim is a member of the Academy of Special Needs Planners. If you are in the beginning stages of separation or divorce, and you have a child with special needs, it is important to plan long into the future. A special needs trust While many people think that determining the amount of a child support obligation is a matter of simply plugging numbers into a formula, this isn't necessarily true. SSI excludes 1/3 of that unearned income, but the other 2/3 reduces the child’s monthly SSI benefit dollar for dollar. Parents of a child with special needs know that they must plan for the child’s care and support way into the future. benefits. custody and How long does child support last for a child with special needs? New Jersey Statutes § 2A:34-23a lists certain factors courts will consider when determining a parent’s child support obligation, including: Courts have the discretion to approve additional expenses for the children, such as the costs associated with caring and providing for the special needs of handicapped or disabled children. for necessities such as food, clothing, or shelter of the disabled individual. The Court wrote: If John were not mentally disabled but instead was enrolled in a traditional high school curriculum, it is clear support would be continued. 585, 588 (1972). Things usually taken into consideration include the physical custody arrangement and the income and earning potential of both parents. Here is how to avoid some potential pitfalls when it comes to child support, trusts, and benefits for special-needs children. While our firm does not create special needs trusts, we would be happy Special Needs Means Special Divorces Contact DeTommaso Law Group at (908) 274-3028 and get started with an initial consultation about your case. case or situation. to refer you to lawyers who do and assist you in the process. Parents should consider how their estate planning can protect those benefits. The court can then order the non-custodial parent to make support payments directly into the special needs trust. Home | About Ms. Edwards | Family Law | Resources Any asset that belongs to the child can be held by the trustee – including child-support payments, unspent SSI payments, damages awarded pursuant to a personal injury claim, and gifts or bequests made directly to the child. NJ We focus on getting the best result for each of our clients. Usually, the noncustodial parent is required to provide money to the parent who has custody of the children. But what happens in cases of divorce? Support can’t be ordered past age 20 unless the parent signs a contract saying so. The purpose of this support is to provide the same degree of financial security that the children had prior to their parents’ separation. ©. Download documents or make a payment here. We create tailored strategies & solutions based on client needs. contact us online. Parents should make efforts to talk with financial and legal professionals about supporting their special needs child, especially as the child transitions into adulthood. The attorney in a special-needs case needs to know if the child is receiving means-tested benefits or is likely to do so in the future. In the case of a special needs child, the courts may make an exception and order that support continue even after the child has reached adulthood. If child support is paid on behalf of an adult child (a person who is over age 18, or over age 22 if regularly attending school or training designed to prepare the child for a job, who is married, or who is the head of a household), SSI disregards$20 of that payment. But what happens in cases of divorce? Please call our special needs child support lawyers in Somerset County today at It is critical to address these issues during the divorce process. In California divorces, child support calculations are based largely upon the parents’ respective incomes and custody rights. When preparing an agreement or drafting a proposed order, remember that funds being paid into a third-party SNT cannot take the place of child-support payments. Yes, depending on when the disability occurred. There may be extensive medical costs for procedures, medications or equipment, care providers and/or the need for a parent to stay home full-time. However, in divorce cases involving special needs children, there are more factors to consider. If these are sufficient to pay for that person’s care and living expenses into the future, the noncustodial parent may not face support obligations, unless the assets are all held in a special needs trust. Special-needs children frequently require assistance beyond the age of majority as well as beyond their parents’ lives; divorce attorneys should understand the benefits available to help care for such children, and how a well-intentioned – but ill-informed – attorney can do more harm than good. You may also One of the only online divorce services with a 95% success rate! Determining an appropriate amount of alimony may also be complicated necessity of a guardianship, emancipation, and/or eligibility governmental Courts will also look at the financial resources of the child with special needs. The trust must specifically state that it is for the sole benefit of the Privacy Policy | Terms & Conditions | Reproduction in whole or in part without their written permission is prohibited. You may also find that something changes in your child's situation years after the initial child support determination is made. If a trust is needed, terms and how to fund the trust should be addressed in settlement negotiations or mediation. Usually child support payments stop when a child turns 18 or graduates from high school. To protect against this outcome, it may make sense to create a special needs trust for the child’s benefit. Heidi was consistently patient, transparent, dependable, professional and firm. may need to be created so that support paid will not adversely impact must be drafted carefully so that the special needs requirements are met However, Medicaid payback provisions apply to a first-party trust, making them ill-suited to hold large sums of money. If an agreement cannot be reached, a practitioner should be prepared to present the issue at trial. Child Support Issues for Children with Special Needs, The standard of living each parent attained, Each parent’s earning capacity, factoring educational background, training, work experience, and employment skills, The child’s educational needs and academic ability, including higher education, Financial resources available to the child, Pre-existing child support obligations for other children.