Permanent Child Support in Atlanta, GA

In most cases, a parent only needs to pay child support until their child is an adult and capable of supporting themselves. Child support orders often call for termination of child support when a child turns 18 or graduates from high school, whichever is later.

When a child has a disability that prevents them from being self-supporting, it is not fair that the entire financial burden falls on the parent the child lives with. A court might order the parents to provide ongoing financial assistance.

Speak with an experienced attorney if you have a disabled child who may never be able to work at a job that will support them. A legal professional can explain how to provide permanent child support in Atlanta, GA.

Establishing That a Child Requires Permanent Support

There is no such thing as permanent child support in Georgia. However, a child who has a physical or mental disability that prevents them from working, or from holding a job that will pay enough to support them, might be eligible for a special needs trust.

The parents must show that the child has a qualifying disability. An Atlanta family law attorney might have to present medical records, reports from social workers and occupational therapists, and other information to prove the child is unable to be self-supporting.

When the judge is persuaded that the child cannot fend for themselves financially, they might order the parents to establish a special needs trust for the child. In many cases, these arrangements are made when the parents divorce. If the disabling condition did not occur until after the divorce, the parents might establish the trust later, but ideally by the child’s 18th birthday.

Purposes of the Special Needs Trust

Disabled people are often eligible for government benefits that provide them with therapeutic assistance, medical care, housing, and other services. Ensuring the disabled child will continue to be eligible for these services throughout their life is essential.

A special needs trust provides money to supplement the public benefits the disabled person receives but does not interfere with their eligibility. The beneficiary of the trust—the disabled person—could use the money for things the government does not provide. These could include:

  • Uncovered medical and dental expenses;
  • Transportation such as a car or hired vehicle;
  • Vacations and travel;
  • Recreational activities and entertainment;
  • Education and training expenses;
  • Costs of a companion.

The special needs trust provides extras that make the disabled person’s life more comfortable and enjoyable.

Another important aspect of the special needs trust is that it can continue providing funds to the beneficiary after you and your co-parent pass away. You would need to name a trusted person, such as the disabled person’s sibling or another family member, to be the trustee and manage the beneficiary’s funds for their benefit.  It is critical to work with an Atlanta attorney who is familiar with the complexities of creating and funding a special needs trust.

Funding a Special Needs Trust

Funding a special needs trust can be challenging. Many parents buy long-term care insurance for their children which supplements government benefits. Parents can also name a special needs trust as a beneficiary of life insurance policies, 401k plans, and other savings tools that require a named beneficiary.

Parents must share the responsibility for their disabled child’s ongoing needs. An Atlanta, GA attorney can advise about how to ensure a fair allocation of responsibility that offers your child the best quality of life possible under the circumstances.

Discuss Your Disabled Child’s Need for Support With an Atlanta Attorney

Some children will never grow into independent adults because of physical or mental disabilities. If your child has a disabling condition, you may need to support them for the rest of your life.

Discuss ways to arrange permanent child support in Atlanta, GA, with a skilled family attorney. They can help you take actions now that will ensure your child has the most fulfilling future possible. Reach out today.

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