Ekker Law, P.C. / Steven B. Ekker, Esq.

Divorce With a Disabled Adult Child

 Posted on July 21, 2022 in Divorce

Kane County Family Law AttorneyDivorcing with young children can be stressful, and sometimes complicated. When you and your spouse have a disabled adult child who relies on you for care and financial support, your divorce may require a few extra steps. Working out a plan for providing continued support to a disabled adult is not like a typical child custody case. One or both of you likely already has legal guardianship of your adult child. Guardianship is typically the legal mechanism by which parents can maintain the ability to make decisions for a disabled child who has turned 18 years old. You and your spouse will need to make a plan that includes things like where your adult child will live and who will be responsible for making health care decisions. It can be a little bit more complicated than a routine custody case involving a minor, but our attorneys can help

What You Should Know About Supporting a Disabled Adult Child During and After Divorce

The transition from a two-parent household to each parent having a separate household can be difficult for adults with intellectual disabilities. If your adult child lives with you, helping them understand and process your divorce can be challenging. The logistics can be complicated as well. Some things to think about include: 

  • Consider the “nest” strategy - You may have your marital home set up in a way that is well-suited to the particular needs of your disabled adult child. Moving back and forth between households can be very difficult for people with certain disabilities who rely on familiar settings and routines. In the “nest” strategy, the disabled individual resides in the marital home full-time, while the parents move back and forth between the marital residence and their own households

  • Child support - Even if your child is over 18 years old, child support payments can be ordered if the adult child has disabilities and is dependent on the parents. The primary caregiver of a disabled adult child may receive child support payments from the noncustodial parent. However, this is not automatic and your lawyer will need to make a special request to the court

  • Spousal support - If you gave up a career or educational opportunities to stay home with your disabled child, you may be eligible for alimony payments

  • Guardianship - Becoming or remaining co-guardians of your child is an option if you are able to reach agreements on major decisions regarding them, such as where they should live and what kind of medical treatment they should be given. If you cannot reach agreements on important issues, you may need to revisit the guardianship and ask the court to establish which parent has which rights and responsibilities. If no one officially has guardianship, now is the time to get it

It is also very important that you both put the welfare of your adult child first throughout the case.



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