For most parents, our legal obligation to physically and financially support our children ends when the children reach the age of majority. For parents of children with special needs, this is often not the case. Florida law allows for parents to request a modification in child support payments based on the specific needs of a child with a disability or illness.
Child support is determined by guidelines established by the Florida court, a specific calculation of the income and assets of both parents, time-sharing arrangement and the financial needs of the child. Either parent has a legal right to seek a modification in child support. When a petition to modify child support is heard, the court may order an increase or a decrease in support.
A supporting parent can be ordered to pay additional child support for a child with special needs if:
- The costs of the child’s care was traditionally covered by the family budget when the family was intact
- The supporting parent has sufficient income and resources to meet the needs
- The child is proven to be limited in the ability to self-support either permanently or indefinitely
An increase in support may be necessary to cover ongoing treatments, therapy, education or residential needs that are not covered by insurance.
It is best if you and your former partner can reach an agreement regarding lifetime support for your special needs child in an amicable fashion, such as mediation. The stress of parenting a child with special needs ought not to be compounded by a hostile legal action. To file for a modification in child support, contact an experienced child support attorney. Call the Law Office of Kenneth C. Gallagher at 407-897-1119, or contact us online.