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Special Concerns in Calculating Child Support when Raising Special Needs Children

mother and son

Determining an appropriate amount of child support always hinges on the needs of the children. When the child involved has special needs, there is an even greater number of issues that parents must consider when determining the amount of child support that they need to request or be prepared to pay. Learn more about the considerations involved in setting child support for special needs children in southern California, and contact a San Gabriel Valley family law attorney for more information.

Consider how special needs could affect child care costs

If a child needs special attention, whether due to physical or behavioral issues, standard after-school programs or the neighborhood babysitter may not be appropriate forms of child care. Hiring caregivers who have the education and experience you need for your child is likely to cost more than traditional childcare. Getting your child to specialized care facilities may also involve special transportation costs that should be included in child support calculations.

Child support may extend beyond the typical cut-off point

In most cases, child support ends once a child reaches their 18th birthday. However, California Family Code §3910 states: “The father and 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.” In other words, if the child is unable to live independently and earn an income, parents should be prepared to provide financial support for the child well into their adulthood. If parents disagree about their child’s ability to earn an income and their entitlement to ongoing support, they may need to go before the family court to argue for the continuation or discontinuation of support after the child turns 18.

Plan for how child support could interfere with federal benefits

Children with serious disabilities may qualify for Supplemental Security Income (SSI) through the federal government. Child support is classified by the government as a form of “unearned income” for the child. If the child support payment is sufficiently large, this could result in the child no longer qualifying for SSI benefits. In these cases, parents can work with an experienced attorney to find alternative ways to provide support that will not interfere with these benefits, such as by creating a special needs trust.

Child Support for Special Needs Children

If you’re a parent looking for help with a California custody dispute or child support determination, contact the experienced Claremont family law attorneys Blasser Law at 877-927-2181.

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