In most cases, child support in Missouri ends when a child graduates high school after his eighteenth birthday. As we have addressed in previous blogs, a parent’s Missouri child support obligation may also continue until a child’s twenty first birthday if that child continues his education beyond high school and meets the criteria as set forth by Missouri statute. However, in limited extenuating circumstances, a parent’s child support can be extended well past the age of emancipation; in extreme circumstances, it can be extended indefinitely. An experienced Missouri family law attorney can assist you if this circumstance applies to you.
A physically or mentally incapacitated child
According to Missouri law, a parent’s child support obligation may be extended beyond a child’s eighteenth or twenty first birthday, if that child is physically or mentally incapacitated from supporting himself and insolvent and unmarried.
In a recent decision from the in the Missouri Court of Appeals, this issue recently presented itself when a Missouri Mother appealed a trial court’s decision that her son was not emancipated despite the fact that her son was over eighteen and not attending school. During the trial, Father argued that his son should not be emancipated. In support of his position, Father presented evidence that his son had a diagnosis of autism, generalized anxiety disorder, obsessive compulsive disorder and bipolar mental illness. In addition, his father presented evidence that his son was deemed “totally disabled” by the Social Security Administration and was unable to support himself through regular employment.
The child’s mother contested father’s position and argued that her son was emancipated. The mother, a former executive director of the Center for Independent Living in Warrensburg, Missouri, argued that she has people who work for her who have similar diagnosis as her son and that her son was capable of finding suitable employment, sighting the child’s history of part time employment at a fast food restaurant. She argued that her son had just had not utilized all of the resources available to him to become self-supporting. She further claimed that there was not sufficient evidence for the trial court to make the finding that her son was mentally incapacitated, nor enough substantial evidence finding that her son is insolvent.
In response to Mother’s appeal of the trial court’s decision, the Court of Appeals upheld the lower court’s decision that her son was mentally incapacitated from supporting himself and insolvent, as well as the order that Mother had a continuing obligation to pay child support to Father in the amount of $432 a month in child support and the establishment of $18,479 in child support arrears.
Work With a Knowledgeable Missouri Child Support Lawyer
A knowledgeable Missouri family law attorney can assist you in navigating the complicated and world of the Missouri family court system. If you have an issue with the continuation or termination of child support or any other issue including child custody, maintenance, division of marital assets or any other family law matter contact the Bellon Law Group today for a free consultation.