Support for child with special needs


#1

Hello all,
My daughter has epilepsy and severe learning disability. She lives with me and father sees her every other weekend and some evenings in-between. As I do not know if she will ever be able to live completely independently and may have to stay with me for much longer than until she is 18, can I ask for extended child support if this may be the case? The future is uncertain, but I do not feel that one person should end up with all expenses, just because the child turned 18. Can an agreement be added into the separation agreement for this situation? Spouse has filed for divorce yesterday and I feel I need to act fast now. One more question: how much time is allotted after his filing for divorce before anyone has to sign papers?
Any help is greatly appreciated!


#2

The statute for child support (NCGS 50-13.4) states:

Payments ordered for the support of a child shall terminate when the child reaches the age of 18 except:

(1) If the child is otherwise emancipated, payments shall terminate at that time;

(2) If the child is still in primary or secondary school when the child reaches age 18, support payments shall continue until the child graduates, otherwise ceases to attend school on a regular basis, fails to make satisfactory academic progress towards graduation, or reaches age 20, whichever comes first, unless the court in its discretion orders that payments cease at age 18 or prior to high school graduation.

In the case of graduation, or attaining age 20, payments shall terminate without order by the court, subject to the right of the party receiving support to show, upon motion and with notice to the opposing party, that the child has not graduated or attained the age of 20.

Yes, you can also enter into an agreement for support outside of what would be ordered by the court under the statute.

You have 30 days from service of the divorce complaint to answer the complaint.


#3

Thank you very much for your reply!
So, is there no law for children with special needs? I know about Wright’s Law, but more on the educational side (IEP’s etc) Are there any different statues in Wright’s Law that you know of?

Also, by responding within 30 days, does that mean, that the divorce papers have to be signed, or that I just have to give some kind of response.

Thank you again!


#4

No, there are no specific provisions in our child support statutes for children with special needs, but you can come to an agreement outside of court, which obligates the parties to do more as it relates to support of the children than could be ordered by the judge.

Your right to respond to the complaint expires after 30 days have elapsed from service. If you have claims for alimony or equitable distribution that have not yet been settled, they need to be pending before the judgment is entered or you will lose your right to assert them. A judge or clerk will be the person who enters the actual divorce decree.


#5

Thank you again for your reply!
I have done some more research and found a book that will hopefully help me. It’s called “Divorce and the Special Needs Child” by Margaret “Pegi” Price. I have started reading it and have found it to be very informational thus far. I’m hoping you can use this information for any of your clients that have a similar situation.
Thank you again for your help! I wished I could see one of the Rosen attorneys for my case, but I do not live in your district of representation. I have found the Rosen website to be very informational and find it just wonderful that there is so much information and assistance for free. I certainly appreciate the help!


#6

Well, you are welcome. Glad we could be of assistance, and I appreciate the book recommendation.