How Does Child Support Work For Children With Special Needs?

A child support agreement is calculated with many different factors in mind, but the well-being of the child is always first priority. When a child has special needs, figuring out what kind of support is necessary to keep them happy and healthy is an absolute necessity. This can complicate the calculations a little bit and parents can be on the hook for support for longer than expected, but at the end of it all you will be grateful that you talked to our child support lawyers in Bergen County, NJ to figure out the best way to provide for your child.

Will I Pay More Child Support If My Child Has Special Needs?

The health of a child is almost always going to be a factor when child support is calculated. As a result, you can probably expect to pay more in child support if your child has special needs. There are all types of things that a child with special needs could require to live comfortably. They could end up needing:

  • Specialized therapy, such as physical, occupational, or speech therapy
  • Additional equipment, such as a wheelchair or automobile customizations
  • Household modifications, such as entry ramps, wheelchair-accessible bathrooms, or lift installations
  • Additional medical treatments and prescription medications
  • Access to school programs that cost extra money
  • Transportation costs for trips to and from school
  • Individualized Education Plans or IEPs

All of this can add up quickly, and it would not be fair if only the parent with primary custody ended up getting stuck with these bills. If you are paying child support, you can expect to see expenses like these factored into what you have to pay.

Do Child Support Agreements End When a Child Has Special Needs?

Child support agreements often end when the child reaches the age of majority, 19 in New Jersey. These agreements can sometimes be extended to the age of 23 if your kid decides to enroll in additional schooling. However, past that point they are generally going to be considered an adult and more child support payments will not be required.

This might not be the case if your child has special needs. They may never be able to take care of themself, no matter how old they are. They may need support for the rest of their life.

Are There More Effective Ways to Provide For My Child?

Some parents work out an agreement that sees them both continuing to support their child. You can also explore other options, like a trust that could provide for your child without blocking their access to benefits like Medicaid or SSI. Taking the time to find the method that works best for you and your child is well worth it.

Talk to a Lawyer Today

If you have any questions about your parental obligations or you worry that your former spouse is not pulling their weight with your current child support agreement, contact Townsend, Tomaio & Newmark. We can take a closer look at your situation and figure out ways to help.

Read Our Latest Blog Posts

  •  What is a Cohabitation Agreement?
  •  Angela M. Scafuri Nominated Vice Chair of NJSBA Women in the Profession Section
  •  What Are The Best Ways To Save Money in an NJ Divorce?