Child support beyond age 18? In Ohio, child support ends when the child reaches age 18 or graduates high school, whichever comes first. This is generally known as the age of majority. The “age of majority,” refers to the legal age established under state law when an individual is no longer a minor and can make certain legal decisions on their behalf. It can also be known as “emancipation.”
What happens though when a minor cannot make decisions on their own due to a disability? Can child support continue after the child graduates high school?
According to the Ohio Revised Code 3119.86(1) (a) (b):
The duty of support to a child imposed pursuant to a court child support order shall continue beyond the child’s Eighteenth birthday only under the following circumstances:
(a). The child is mentally or physically disabled and is incapable of supporting or maintaining himself or herself; or,
(b). The child’s parents have agreed to continue support beyond the child’s Eighteenth birthday pursuant to a separation agreement that was incorporated into a decree of divorce or dissolution
This is where it can get tricky. Determining if a disabled child shall remain a dependent adult, to continue receiving child support upon the separation or divorce of parents requires the skill of a knowledgeable lawyer and employment of the appropriate experts.
In Ohio, in order for a parent to be liable for an adult child’s support due to disability, the parent must be able to prove that the disability began during the developmental years, defined as, “before age 22.” Medical records and treatment plans may be essential to determining the support.
When the parents of a disabled child divorce, both parents are working or spousal support is awarded, planning for the future support of the child becomes even more difficult. Timing is of the essence as failure to address these issues may exclude parents of disabled children from receiving child support.