Carolann M. Aschoff, P.C.

Child custody and support in the case of a special needs child

Children with special needs require specialized care and support for a longer time than most other children. The need for care and support may continue until adulthood in some cases. When the New Jersey parents of a child who is physically or mentally impaired decide to divorce, the needs of the child must be carefully considered when decisions regarding child custody and support are made.

Generally, both spouses have a responsibility to provide financial support to the children born from the marriage until the children have completed high school, or have reached adulthood, which ever happens first. Parties can agree on an amount that should be paid in terms of support for children by the non-custodial parent using the guidelines provided by state legislation, or a court can make an order in this regard. As an impairment affects a child's life into adulthood, child support takes on a new dimension.  

In many cases, child support may be higher when the child in question is disabled. It can be required of the non-custodial parent to financially support the child past the age of majority, should the child not have the ability to become self-sufficient. In such cases, it can be expected of the non-custodial parent to supplement the disabled adult child's income.

Child custody and support matters are complex matters and can be very sensitive. As a parent of a child with special needs, it may be imperative to obtain advice from a New Jersey family law attorney when you are considering divorce. Protecting a child's best interests is of the utmost importance, particularly in cases where the child is more vulnerable than usual.

Source:, "Financial Support When Caring for Special Needs Child", Jodee Redmond, Accessed on Jan. 11, 2017

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