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Child Support for a Child with Autism, Down Syndrome, or another Intellectual Disability

 Posted on April 27, 2022 in Family Law

DuPage County Family Law AttorneyChildcare, medical expenses, afterschool tutoring, clothes, and groceries are just some of the many child-related expenses parents must manage. When a child is disabled, there are often additional expenses including specialized medical care and educational serves. If your child has an intellectual disability such as autism spectrum disorder, fetal alcohol syndrome, fragile X syndrome, or down syndrome, you may be able to extend the length of time that you receive child support from your child’s other parent.

Understanding the Cost of Intellectual Disabilities  

Parents of children with disabilities often face a unique set of challenges both personally and financially. Raising neurotypical children is already expensive, but children with disabilities often require special medical care, therapy, educational services, and caregiving. The organization Autism Speaks estimates that the average lifetime cost of these services for a person with an intellectual disability is $1.4 to $2.4 million. Social Security Disability Income (SSDI) and other programs may help mitigate costs, however, government assistance is often not enough to cover all of these expenses.

Child Support May Be Extended When a Child is Disabled

Typically, Illinois child support orders last until the child turns 18 years old, graduates high school, and becomes an adult. If the child attends college, the support may be extended through his or her undergraduate degree. Children without disabilities are expected to get a job and support themselves upon reaching adulthood. However, children with intellectual disabilities may not reach this same level of financial independence.

Fortunately, Illinois law allows child support orders to be extended into adulthood if the child has a disability that “substantially limits major life activity.” When deciding whether or not non-minor child support is appropriate, Illinois courts consider:

  • Government benefits the child receives

  • The child’s own financial resources, such as money acquired through inheritance or a trust

  • Each parent’s income and assets

  • The standard of living the child would experience if the parents were married

The recipient of non-minor child support payments can vary. If the child lives with you, you may continue to receive child support payments just as you did when the child was a minor. If your child lives in a group home or other facility, the non-minor support may be organized into a special needs trust for the child’s benefit.

Contact a Wheaton Child Support Lawyer

Children with intellectual disabilities may be entitled to child support into adulthood. For help seeking non-minor child support, contact the skilled DuPage County family law attorneys at Davi Law Group. Call our office at 630-657-5052 today for a free, confidential consultation.





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