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Is an Intellectually Disabled Adult Entitled to Child Support?

We are currently in the middle of an interesting cultural shift: adults are marrying and divorcing at increasingly older ages. This naturally impacts many aspects of the divorce process, especially when it comes to custody and child support. However, what happens when a couple divorces and their child is an intellectually disabled adult? Does one parent still need to pay child support?

In Illinois, the answer to this question is inconclusive. Per section 513.5 of the Illinois Marriage and Dissolution of Marriage Act, a parent can request financial support for a disabled non-minor child. The statute specifically states that a disabled person is an individual “who has a physical or mental impairment that substantially limits a major life activity, has a record of such an impairment, or is regarded as having such an impairment.”

The court considers 3 factors before deciding to award child support for an intellectually disabled non-minor child:

  1. The present and future earning capacity of both parents (including their ability to save for retirement)
  2. How the intellectually disabled adult’s standard of living will be affected by the divorce
  3. What governmental or social service resources are currently providing for the intellectually disabled adult

Unlike a divorce case with minor children, there is no standard formula to calculate this type of child support. Before making a final determination, the court has to review each parent’s financial circumstances and which programs are currently providing financial aid to their child.

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Each client that comes through our doors has an incomparable story and unique family dynamics. At Wakenight & Associates, P.C., our Illinois divorce attorneys have a thorough understanding of divorce and family law. We can help you navigate this complicated legal process and negotiate a divorce settlement that safeguards your child’s quality of life.

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