NY Extends Child Support to Adults with Developmental Disabilities
New York parents with developmentally disabled sons and daughters now have the right to petition courts for child support payments until the child is 26, thanks to a law passed in the fall of 2021.
Prior to passage of the new law, child support ended when a son or daughter reached the age of 18 or 21 depending on certain criteria such as whether they were attending college or not. As legal adults, parents no longer had an obligation to provide them with financial support by those ages. However, young adults with special needs often cannot earn the income they require to support themselves, so the burden often fell on the parent who lived with them.
Under the new law, the parent who pays child support is required to continue payments to the parent with whom the child resides until the child reaches the age of 26 if:
- The petition is filed before the child reaches age 26
- The child is developmentally disabled as described in New York’s Mental Hygiene Law
- The child is principally dependent on the residential parent for care
- The court’s finding of mental disability is supported by the report of a practicing physician, licensed psychologist, registered nurse or licensed social worker who is supervised by a medical professional
“Developmental disability” is defined in section 1.03 of New York’s Mental Hygiene Law (MHL) as a disability which is attributable to one of the following:
- Intellectual disability, cerebral palsy, epilepsy, neurological impairment, familial dysautonomia, Prader-Wilson syndrome or autism
- Any other condition closely related to intellectual disability that results in similar intellectual functioning or behavior
- Dyslexia resulting from any disability listed above
In addition, the developmental disability must originate before the child turns 22, must be expected to continue indefinitely and must be a substantial handicap to the child’s ability to function.
Parents of developmentally disabled sons and daughters should speak with a qualified New York family law attorney to determine if their circumstances justify an order of extended child support benefits. Because this is still a new law, there is expected to be a fair amount of litigation as the details of these financial arrangements are ironed out. Both parents, whether paying support or receiving it, should be represented by their own lawyers.
At Bryan Salamone & Associates, P.C. our lawyers are on top of this important child support change and can advise you of your legal options, whether you are potentially obligated to pay or are seeking extended payments. We offer a free initial consultation in our Melville office or via video conference. To arrange yours, please call 1.631.479.3839 or contact us online. We serve clients throughout Long Island.