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Baltimore County Family Law Attorney Blog

Baltimore & Towson Lawyer Discusses The Obligation To Support Adult Destitute Children

Written by Amar Weisman » April 10, 2015 »

Many parents are aware of their obligation to provide financial support for their young child in the event of a separation or divorce. But parents may not realize that if they have an adult child with disabilities, they may still be required to provide support for that individual, despite them being over the age of majority. Your Towson family law attorney will tell you that under Maryland law, parents are expected and required to support their “adult destitute children.”

To be clear, the term “adult destitute children” describes adult children who do not have adequate resources and, due to some physical or mental medical condition, they are not able to earn sufficient income to meet their own reasonable living costs and expenses. So, how is the determination made with respect to whether or not the adult is a “destitute child” under the law?

Typically, the court will examine the individual's eligibility for disability or some other type of assistance, as well as his or her personal assets and earning capacity. Once that review is complete, the court then weighs those factors against what the individual will need to maintain an appropriate and reasonable level of living.

What if the Adult Child Receives Benefits?

In these types of cases, it is not uncommon for the adult destitute child to get benefits, whether they be retirement benefits, disability, some other third-party dependent benefits or other benefits stemming from other types of claims. If the individual receives such benefits, the amount of those benefits will be taken into account and offset against whatever support requirement is calculated by the court in accordance with child support guidelines.

It is important to note that receipt of child support might actually decrease the individual’s benefit amount or may even make the individual ineligible for public benefits. That being the case, a parent may choose to make payments to a trust established for the adult child to help avoid the possible reduction of the benefits to which the individual may be entitled to receive.

How is Support Calculated in Such Cases?

To determine the amount of support needed to adequately care for an adult destitute child, the court will begin by looking to the support guidelines pertaining to minor children who are not disabled. However, the inquiry will not stop there. Given the circumstances and needs of the adult child, the court must look at the totality of the issues because applying the standard amounts provided for by the guidelines is often insufficient, particularly when an individual has special needs.

Couples with adult destitute children will need to take the above information into consideration as they plan for separation or divorce. Such situations can be quite complex and should not be handled without the assistance of a well-versed family law attorney who is aware of the laws pertaining to such situations.

If you are considering divorce or separation and you have a child who you believe may be considered an adult destitute child, contact the Law Offices of Amar Weisman, LLC to learn more about your options under the law.

Call (410) 321-4994 For a Free Consultation 

Call The Law Offices of Amar S. Weisman at (410) 321-4994 to schedule a Free ConsultationThe Purpose of the consultation is to determine whether you want to retain this law firm as your Baltimore County & Harford County Family Lawyer. If you do wish to proceed, then you must pay a retainer. See Our Policy on Fees and Costs. The family firm is located next to The Circuit Court for Baltimore County, at 1018 Dulaney Valley Road, Towson, MD 21204.