Published in Family Law on January 20, 2017
Child support for special needs children can extend beyond the age of 21. Under Missouri law there are three requirements that must be established in order for a special needs child to be entitled to support past the age of 21. First, the child must be physically or mentally incapacitated from supporting himself or herself. Second, the child must be insolvent. Third, the child must be unmarried.
If the child has a mental handicap it must be one that impairs the child’s ability to become self supporting. This impairment is usually proven by expert testimony or proof that the child has a guardian appointed. Mere lack of training or the child’s lack of desire to work is not sufficient. A physical handicap sufficient to entitle a child to support beyond the age of 21 must be one that actually prevents the child from supporting himself or herself.
The insolvency of a special needs child is proven by evidence that the child is unable to meet his or her obligations. This means that the child has the inability to pay debts as those debts come due and that the child can physically pay those debts. Thus, if a child has some income but cannot manage his or her own finances without the assistance of others, the child will be determined to be insolvent.