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Adult Children who are age of majority (Age of Majority (over the age of 18 or 19 depending on when the child graduated high school)) and are developmentally disabled require long-term support as they are not self-sufficient and able to become independent.
There is a two prong test to determine child support for an adult child:
Family Code Section 3910 (a) provides:
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.
A child would be considered incapacitated if they have a low IQ, cannot hold a position, suffer from mental disabilities such as severe autism, schizophrenia, and other handicaps. Physical handicaps that would render an adult child unemployable would also be a qualification under this code section.
Cases that conclude a child is “incapacitated from earning a living for purposes of Family Code Section 3910(a) are as follows:
Jones v. Jones (1986) 179 CA 3d 1011
Marriage of Drake 53 CA 4th 1154
Chun v. Chun (1987) 190 CA 3d 589
Farber v. Olkon (1953) 40 C2d 503
Woolams v. Woolams (1952) 115 CA 2d, 1
The Statutory Purpose of Family Code Section 3910 is to
“Protect the public from the burden of supporting a person whose parents are able to do so.” Marriage of Drake (supra)
Children who are considered incapacitated and without means from earning a living usually qualify for disability through SSI. However, the purpose of the family code section is to relieve the public at large from the paying child support when a parent is able to do so. If a child falls under the Family Code Section 3910(a) and qualifies for child support, it would be extremely hard to terminate child support obligations on a parent. The child support payment could be reduced if the parent is unable to provide but not completely terminated.
This is an extremely complex area of law that requires expert opinions, testimony etc. Maryam Atighechi is a Los Angeles Divorce and Family Lawyer who is experienced in this area of law. Child Custody and Child Support are her focus. Please contact her today for a free consultation.