The Law Office of Kurt H King

September 30, 2013

Child Must Have Been Incapacitated At 18 For Child Support To Continue

Filed under: Divorce,Family Law,Support — kurthking @ 8:52 pm
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When does a parent pay child support for a child over age 18 but unable to care for himself/herself?

In Bright v. Bright989 S.W.2d 196 (Mo. Ct. App. S.D. 1999), the child did not become disabled until he became mentally ill during his first semester in college.   The child withdrew from college before the end of that semester and father ceased paying child support.   The child committed suicide over a year later–two months before his 22nd birthday–being incapacitated and unable to provide for his necessities due to his illness.  The mother later sued the father for child support for the months after the child withdrew from college, funeral and medical expenses of the child, and her attorneys fees.  The trial court compassionately awarded mother the relief she requested but the court of appeals reversed, taking it all away except the attorneys fees award.

The appellate court found little or no evidence that the child was incapacitated at age 18.  Father’s duty to continue to pay child support after the child reached age 18 was based solely upon the child attending college.  When the child withdrew from college that basis for father to continue to pay child support ceased.

Looking to Missouri’s 452.340 (subsections 3 and 4), the court found no intent that Missouri lawmakers intended to restart child support after it terminates by law.  Had the child simply gone on work a job after turning 18, no one would argue that a parent should have to recommence paying child support if the child later became incapacitated.  Likewise, no child support would be due from a parent if a 50, 60, or 70 year old child of that parent became incapacitated.  In order that the law be uniformly fair, the court could not in good conscience give the mother of the mentatlly incapacitated child in this case any back child support for those months after the obligation to support the child terminated by law.

Thus, the court of appeals reads 452.340.4 as granting a court the power to order child support of a mentally or physically incapacitated child to continue ONLY IF the child is so incapacitated on his or her 18th birthday.

As for the child’s medical and funeral expenses, the court found no Missouri law obligating a parent to pay for the such expenses of their child when that child is no longer a minor.

But the court left in place the trial court’s award of attorneys fees in favor of wife.  Given the novel questions of law, and the father’s much greater income, the court of appeals found no abuse of discretion in the award of fees to mother.

Kurt H. King

Law Office of Kurt H. King, 20 E. Franklin, Liberty, Clay County, Missouri 64068

816.781.6000

Family Law, Divorce, Modifications, Paternity; Child Support, Visitation, & Custody

Personal Injury, Workers’ Compensation, Chapter 7 Bankruptcy for Debtors

http://www.kurthking.com

December 19, 2011

No Credit For Child’s Social Security Disability $ If Due To Disability of Custodial Parent

Filed under: Custody,Divorce,Family Law,Support — kurthking @ 10:24 pm
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Possible scenario:  Mom has  residential physical custody of a child who receives Social Security Disability each month due to the disability of the mother who cannot work.  Father wants a credit for the amount of the child’s disability checks in order to reduce his child support obligation under Missouri law. 

Answer: No reduction for father becasue the disability money comes to the child because of the disability of the parent with custody–mom. 

But the answer may be yes if the father was the disabled person and the child received disability payments due to the non-custodial father’s disability.

The Missouri case on point is Gerlach v. Adair, 211 S.W.3d 663, 667 hn.8 (Mo. Ct. App. W. D. 2007).

However, there is another angle in through the back door for the non-custodial father to try.   That is that the Missouri Child Support Guidelines are just guidelines from which the court may deviate for good reason.  And one factor which could cause a deviation is that the court is supposed to consider the child’s income in deciding how much child support to order. 

One practical approach to this scenario was experienced in a Platte County, Missouri, court where the judge added the amount of money the child received each month due to the custodial mother’s disability, back into the total income of the mother which resulted in a small but fair discount in the amount of child support that the court ordered the non-custodial, non-disabled father to pay.

Kurt H. King

Law Office of Kurt H. King, 20 E. Franklin, Liberty, Clay County, Missouri 64068

www.kurthking.com

Bankruptcy, Child Custody & Support, Divorce & Modification, Family Law, Personal Injury, Missouri Workers’ Compensation

July 20, 2010

Missouri Workers’ Compensation–the Second Injury Fund (via Kurt’s Take on Law)

Many folks do not know that there is a Second Injury Fund in the State of Missouri that can lead to your receiving more in workers compensation benefits than would otherwise be the case. Missouri set up the Second Injury Fund (SIF) years ago to pay injured workers an extra amount of workers compensation when they have significant or substantial "old"  or prior injuries.  When the/those prior injuries (which do NOT have to be on the job injuries– … Read More

via Kurt's Take on Law

Kurt H. King
Law Office of Kurt H. King
816.781.6000
20 E. Franklin
Liberty, Clay County, Missouri 64068
http://www.kurthking.com

Bankruptcy, Child Custody and Support, Divorce and Modification, Family Law
Personal Injury, Workers’ Compensation

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