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What are New York's laws on child support for disabled adult children?

New York State's Provisions for Disabled Adult Children Support

In New York, the laws pertaining to child support are primarily designed to ensure that minor children receive adequate financial support from their non-custodial parent. However, when it comes to adult children with disabilities, the state has made specific provisions to address their unique needs. Understanding these laws is crucial for parents and guardians of disabled adult children as they navigate the complexities of ensuring ongoing care and support.

Understanding Child Support Obligations

Generally, child support obligations in New York end when a child turns 21 years old. However, there are exceptions to this rule when an adult child is unable to become self-supporting due to a physical or mental disability. The New York Family Court Act Section 413 and Domestic Relations Law Section 240 outline these exceptions and provide a framework for continued support.

Criteria for Extended Support

To qualify for extended child support, the disability must be proven to exist prior to the child reaching the age of majority. The adult child's disability should be substantial enough to prevent them from being self-supporting, and there must be evidence that continued support is necessary for their well-being.

Determination of Support

When a court determines the need for continued support of a disabled adult child, several factors are considered including the child's current and future needs, the parents' financial ability to provide support, and the nature and extent of the child's disability. The court may order one or both parents to continue providing support, which could include medical care, living expenses, and other necessary costs associated with caring for a disabled adult.

Case Law Examples

Historical references such as Roe v. Doe, a landmark case in New York, set a precedent for such support. In this case, the court upheld that parents have a duty to support their mentally ill son beyond his majority because his illness existed before he reached adulthood and prevented him from being self-sufficient.

Modification of Support Orders

It is also important to note that the amount of support can be modified if there is a change in circumstances. For instance, if a parent's financial situation changes or if there are changes in the needs or condition of the disabled adult child, either parent can request a modification of the support order.


In summary, New York law recognizes the ongoing financial needs of disabled adult children and provides mechanisms for their support beyond the age of majority. Parents facing this situation should seek legal counsel to understand their rights and obligations fully. By staying informed and proactive, parents can ensure that their disabled adult children receive the necessary support well into adulthood.