As mentioned in the previous blog on child support, each parent has a duty to financially support their child. However, the duty to financially support your child is during the time period of “minority.” Minority is defined by the Family Code as continuing until the child marries, dies, is emancipated, reaches 19 or reaches 18, and is not a full-time high school student residing with a parent, whichever first occurs. Family Code §3901.
There are only two exceptions to the above timeline – (1) if both sides agree, OR (2) if your child qualifies for adult child support under the Family Code.
When Both Parents Agree To Adult Child Support
First, if parents are agreeing to additional adult child support, then this merely must be a stipulation between the parties stating they are agreeing to additional support past the age of 18. This stipulation can be later changed and modified unless the parties expressly and specifically state the stipulated adult child support order cannot be modified and terminated.
Marriage of Rosenfeld & Gross (2014) 255 CA4th 478, 489-490. So, if you are in negotiations for the division of assets for your divorce and you are waiving your rights to certain assets in order to obtain adult child support, make sure the order expressly and specifically states this and that the order cannot be modified or terminated by the Court.
When Parents Are Not In Agreement
Second, if you and your co-parent are not in agreement about adult child support, you may ask the court to order it under Family Code § 3910. In order for an adult child to be eligible, they must be:
- Incapacitated from earning a living, AND
- Without sufficient means.
Family Code § 3910 may be for a limited time period such as in a situation to allow for your disabled child to seek some additional education and training to teach them to be self-sufficient (i.e. how to live independently, find a job, how to manage their funds and budget). However, in cases where it will not be possible for your child to develop these skills and obtain employment due to the nature and severity of the disability, then adult child support will be more long-term.
Once you prove that your child is incapacitated from earning a living and without sufficient means to support themselves, then the Court will calculate the amount of adult-child support. Adult child support is calculated using the same program and calculation as base guideline child support, but the Court will have greater flexibility in how the funds are distributed. The Court could order that the adult child support be placed in a trust for the child’s separate estate. The Court could also take into consideration any income the adult child is earning and reduce the support accordingly.
There are many ways for you to attempt to obtain adult child support for your child. If you would like to find out if you can negotiate these options with your co-parent or if you qualify to request the Court order this, Moore Law for Children is happy to discuss these options, your goals, and a strategy for your case during a consultation.