Son With Special Needs Standing Proudly OutsideAfter years of debate and careful consideration, New York has finally approved legislation extending the duration of time for which the parents of adults with special needs may receive child support payments.

New York’s Latest Child Support Law

Before New York Legislature passed Family Court Act Section 413-b, financial child support terminated when the child reached the age of either 18 or 21, depending on whether the child was:

  • Attending college full-time
  • Working full-time
  • Enlisted in the military

Before the passage of Family Court Act Section 413-b, the state expected that—beyond a certain age—most adult children would become self-sufficient. However, the decision to terminate child support payments for children aged between 18 and 21 overlooked the needs of many developmentally disabled adults, who are not always able to support themselves or live independently.

Adult Children and Child Support Payments

Under the recently-enacted law, child support may be paid to the parent of an adult with developmental disabilities provided that all of the following requirements are met:

  • The adult child has been diagnosed with a developmental disability. Qualifying developmental disabilities include, but are not limited to, cerebral palsy, epilepsy, Prader-Willi syndrome, and autism. In order to qualify for an extension of child support payments, the condition must have arisen before the adult child turned 22, and must be likely to continue indefinitely.
  • The adult child is residing with a parent.
  • The adult child is principally reliant upon their parent for care.

If the above conditions are met, the parent may continue receiving child support payments until the adult child is age 26.

How to Extend Child Support Orders Until the Child’s 26th Birthday

While Family Court Act Section 413-b allows for the continuation of child support payments until the child’s 26th birthday, the law does not provide an automatic extension of existing payment orders. Instead, parents must petition the courts to extend payments by filing Form 4-3c, Petition for Support of Adult Dependent.

Form 4-3c is largely self-explanatory. However, simply submitting Form 4-3c to the court does not guarantee that child support orders will be issued or extended. Parents must be prepared to show the court evidence of their adult child’s developmental disability. This evidence could include:

  • Sworn statements from family members, friends, and medical professionals
  • Medical records, such as diagnostic reports and specialist recommendations
  • School records indicating attendance in special needs courses

Ideally, this documentation should prove that the adult child’s intellectual, physical, or emotional needs prevent them from becoming self-sufficient.

Potential Challenges in Issuing or Extending a Child Support Order

When determining whether to issue or extend a child support order to the parent of an adult child with special needs, the court may also consider:

  • If the financial responsibility for caring for the child has been unreasonably or disproportionately placed upon one parent
  • The economic and non-economic contributions of both parents to the child’s care
  • The parents’ other child support obligations, if any

The Benefits of Working With a Child Support Attorney

Petitioning the court to extend child support payments might seem intimidating, especially if you cannot locate your child’s diagnostic records or the other parent is uncooperative.

However, the Alatsas Law Firm has spent years aggressively defending the rights of parents across New York City’s Five Boroughs. We believe that every parent should be able to provide for their child’s needs, no matter their condition or disability. When you work with the Alatsas Law Firm, you do not have to take on the Empire State’s courts by yourself. We could help you:

  • File the correct paperwork for your child support extension request
  • Explain why your child needs additional support
  • Collect the documentation needed to support your claim
  • Communicate with an uncooperative or estranged spouse
  • Advocate for your child’s best interests in court
Ted Alatsas
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Trusted Brooklyn, New York Family Law Attorney helping NY residents with Elder Law and Asset Protection