No matter the circumstances, ending a marriage is never easy. If children are involved, it is typical for the court to order the payment of child support. By statute, the court has jurisdiction to order child support until a child reaches the age of majority, emancipates, or attains age nineteen, if they are still enrolled in high school full-time. There are some exceptions to this rule, namely where an adult child has a disability that precludes them from becoming self-sufficient.
As an example, Mr. and Mrs. Jones (names have been changed for the privacy of the parties) entered into an agreement whereby Mr. Jones was to pay child support for the couple’s eleven year old daughter. The parties’ daughter had been previously diagnosed with autism. The order stated that Mr. Jones was to pay nearly $2,000.00 per month in support until their daughter married, died or until the parties were no longer legally obligated under the law.
Eight years after entering into the agreement, Mr. Jones sought to terminate his child support obligation because his daughter had attained the age of majority.
The trial court held that Mr. Jones was not relieved of his obligation because the Jones’ daughter met the requirements for adult child support under section 3910 of the California Family Code and the ongoing payment of child support posed no hardship to Mr. Jones. California Family Code Section 3910 states “the father and mother have an equal responsibility to maintain, to the extent of their ability, a child of whatever age who is incapacitated from earning a living and without sufficient means.” In this case, a psychologist testified that the Jones’ daughter required around-the-clock care and would never be able to support herself financially.
Knowing the law and obtaining appropriate orders for the benefit of your children in a dissolution or paternity action is important! For more information on how to obtain or enforce an existing child support order, contact the experts at the Beringer Law Firm today.